Theme parks in California will limit patrons’ screaming or shouting on rides to curb the spread of COVID-19. A union of amusement parks in the state proposed the measure in a list of actions they would take to safely reopen these leisure facilities in line with a state blueprint.
The California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) shared a list of steps its member amusement parks would be taking to safely reopen their properties to the public. It drafted the list with the hope of better following the state’s blueprint for determining COVID-19 risk. According to CAPA, member parks “have been busy planning and preparing to implement their own site-specific plans for reopening.”
Theme parks to limit activities known to cause the spread of COVID-19
CAPA’s plan detailed how amusement parks and attractions can reopen “in limited capacity with the proper modifications.” Limiting activities and environments that are known to cause increased COVID-19 transmission and require people to raise their voices was among the points indicated in the plan.
To address concerns about the virus’ spread, amusement park operators will require the use of face masks or face coverings for park ride passengers. Seat loading patterns on rides will also be modified “to mitigate the effects of shouting.” CAPA also remarked that guests ought to “generally face in one direction” on rides to minimize excess noise. The association also added it will only sit people from the same party for various rides and attractions to prevent mixing and mingling of amusement park visitors. CAPA explained that amusement parks “do not encourage congregations” as families stay within their own household group when visiting.
Furthermore, the CAPA list also says that amusement parks will provide designated eating and drinking areas where people can remove their masks. Eating on the go will no longer be allowed as guests will be required to wear face coverings while walking around.
New regulations in line with theme park re-openings in California
CAPA published the reopening action plan as a spike in coronavirus cases in the winter rapidly tapered off. California officials announced in early March that reopening criteria for theme parks and outdoor stadiums would be relaxed starting April 1.
Theme parks will only be allowed to re-open if the county they are located in drops below California’s restrictive coronavirus tier. They will also be permitted to re-open albeit initially at 15 percent capacity, and the parks will be open only to California residents.
Disneyland was among the theme parks in the state aiming to reopen soon. The “happiest place on Earth” has joined other amusement park operators and local officials in pressuring state authorities to permit swift re-opening. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the previous week that the park was targeting a late April 2021 re-opening after the state eased COVID-19 restrictions.
The theme park in Anaheim, located near Los Angeles, has been closed for almost exactly a year – while other Disney resorts worldwide have re-opened their doors. Based on previous guidance, theme parks would be among the last places to re-open in California. But the projection has not dissuaded Chapek. “Here in California, we’re encouraged by the positive trends we’re seeing. [We’re] hopeful they’ll continue to improve and we’ll be able to reopen our parks to guests with limited capacity by late April,” he said. (Related: Disneyland converted into mass COVID-19 vaccination site.)
The Disney CEO cautioned that the park could not reopen on April 1, the date originally eyed for resumption. He explained that it would take time to recall more than 10,000 furloughed staff members and to retrain them in pandemic safety measures. Chapek added that a precise opening date would be confirmed “in the coming weeks.” (Related: Disney to lay off 28,000 workers in belt-tightening move amid coronavirus pandemic.)
Soon enough, Disneyland posted on its Twitter account that it would reopen its doors on April 30. In a March 17 tweet, the park said it plans to officially reopen with limited capacity, and only for California residents.
Visit Collapsifornia.com to learn more about coronavirus-related restrictions for theme parks and other establishments.