Spectrum News: SoCal Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Reopen Theme Parks

SoCal Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Reopen Theme Parks

By Daniela Pardo and Hannah Poukish Sacramento

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California’s largest amusement parks have been shut down since the start of the pandemic, and despite a strong push by elected officials and industry leaders to reopen, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s plan does not allow theme parks to open their doors until counties reach the least restrictive yellow tier.

Two Southern California lawmakers are attempting to get theme parks operating again sooner with Assembly Bill 420. If passed, the bill would modify the state’s guidelines to allow large amusement parks, like Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain, to reopen in the orange tier.

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, who represents the district where Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm are located, believes it’s time to give theme parks a chance to reopen now that vaccinations are underway and COVID-19 cases are decreasing throughout the state.

“I’ve spoken to many families in Downtown Disney in particular who’ve said we feel safer here than going to big box retail and malls,” Quirk-Silva added.

Today, I visited #downtowndisney with my family. As we walked into the downtown district, we had our temperature taken and saw the enforcement of mask wearing.
Ultimately, if we can allow guests to walk, dine, & shop, it is time we consider reopening our parks. #reopen #caleg 

The Democratic lawmaker is the chair of the Arts, Entertainment and Tourism Committee in the Assembly. Quirk-Silva’s bill, AB 420, would provide a pathway to safely reopen Disneyland to patrons.

“That’s their business – to move people safely. They know how to do this. That’s what they do every day as their parks are open. And they’d also be opening in a limited capacity, meaning 25% and initially with only Orange County residents,” Quirk-Silva explained.

She’s proposing for parks the size of Disneyland to be in the same category as smaller amusement parks, which are currently allowed to open in the orange tier.

Quirk-Silva says data shows there have been no signs of any coronavirus outbreaks at reopened theme parks in other parts of the country.

“We are watching carefully what other states are doing. We certainly don’t want to move forward any type of legislation that could in fact be the cause of a super spreader, but we know that the data is clear,” Quirk-Silva said.