KABC: SoCal lawmakers aim to speed up reopening of theme parks like Disneyland, Magic Mountain

SoCal lawmakers aim to speed up reopening of theme parks like Disneyland, Magic Mountain

The bill would place large parks like Disneyland and Universal on the same timeline for reopening as smaller parks.

Two Southern California legislators have introduced a bill that seeks to allow large theme parks to reopen sooner. The bill would place the largest parks, like Disneyland, Magic Mountain and Universal Studios, on the same timeline for reopening as smaller parks.

Assembly Bill 420 was introduced by Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, a Santa Clarita Republican whose district includes Magic Mountain, and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat from Orange County whose district borders Disneyland.

They note that other large theme parks around the world, including Disney World in Florida, have reopened without evidence they have contributed to major COVID-19 outbreaks.

They also note that theme parks contribute significantly to the California economy, generating $12.6 billion in direct and indirect revenue to state government and paying $1.5 billion a year in federal, state and local taxes. The assemblywomen say reopening the parks would allow tens of thousands of people to return to work.

Disneyland closed in March 2020, at first as a voluntary safety measure and later remaining closed under state orders that applied to many businesses and activities throughout California.

"I think it can be done safely, and I think not only Disney, Magic Mountain, other theme parks -- they're in the business to move people, to move them safely, and I think that it's the time to move down this pathway," said Quirk-Silva.
 

The California Attractions and Parks Association, the trade organization representing theme parks in the state, backs the bill. The organization adds the current requirements will keep parks closed indefinitely.

"Worldwide, theme parks have proven they can reopen responsibly while protecting the health of guests and staff," said Erin Guerrero, executive director of the California Attractions and Parks Association. "Science and data show it can be done. California should allow theme parks to reopen responsibly in the Orange - Moderate - Tier 3.

"Nearly a year after parks closed in response to the pandemic, tens of thousands of employees remain out of work, while local businesses, communities surrounding theme parks, and local governments face ongoing negative consequences."