October 20, 2020

California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) and Theme Park Presidents React to New

Statement from Erin Guerrero, Executive Director, California Attractions and Parks Association:

“To say today?s announcement on theme parks is disappointing would be a grave understatement. The Governor has not used science or data to inform his decision. Theme parks have opened and operated safely around the world for months. Data and science prove that theme parks can operate responsibly anywhere ? there is no rational reason to believe they can?t do so in California. No one cares more about park employee and guest safety than the parks themselves.

“Let me be unequivocal? the guidance issued by the Newsom Administration will keep theme parks shuttered for the foreseeable future. By forcing amusement parks to stay closed until their home county reaches Tier 4, the Governor has issued a ?Keep Theme Parks Closed Indefinitely? Plan which will devastate California?s major theme park industry.

“This plan prolongs unemployment for tens of thousands of people, hastens bankruptcy for families and small business owners adjacent to parks, and contributes to insolvency for local governments whose budgets rely on parks as an anchor economic driver.

“While we appreciate the more nuanced approach in the guidance for smaller theme parks, keeping California?s larger parks closed is unfair and unreasonable. Based on the responsible reopening of parks in other countries and states, science and data do not support the indefinite closure of this iconic industry in California.

“Responsibly reopening amusement parks on a reasonable timeline can and should be done while we fight this pandemic ? the two are not mutually exclusive. California?s theme parks and their phenomenal workforce are ready to reopen responsibly. Parks? loyal guests are ready and the communities and local governments surrounding the parks are ready. We urge Governor Newsom to revise this guidance to allow for a reasonable and responsible reopening of California?s signature theme park industry in Tier 3.”

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Ken Potrock, President, Disneyland Resort;
“We have proven that we can responsibly reopen, with science-based health and safety protocols strictly enforced at our theme park properties around the world. Nevertheless, the State of California continues to ignore this fact, instead mandating arbitrary guidelines that it knows are unworkable and
that hold us to a standard vastly different from other reopened businesses and state-operated facilities. Together with our labor unions we want to get people back to work, but these State guidelines will keep us shuttered for the foreseeable future, forcing thousands more people out of work, leading to the inevitable closure of small family-owned businesses, and irreparably devastating the Anaheim/Southern California community.”


Raffi Kaprelyan, Regional Vice President, Cedar Fair, operators of Knott’s Berry Farm, California’s Great America, and Gilroy Gardens:
“Cedar Fair is extremely disappointed and frustrated with the lack of reasonable consideration given to the opening of California’s most popular theme parks. Our company has safely operated 7 of its 13 parks across the U.S. this year with zero cases of COVID-19 being traced back to our properties.

“Our safety protocols have been proven effective, exceeding state requirements where we’ve opened. Following capacity parameters, we feel strongly that both Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park and California’s Great America in Santa Clara should be allowed to open under the same guidance
afforded smaller parks such as Gilroy Gardens, which also operates under Cedar Fair management.”


Kurt Stocks, President, LEGOLAND California Resort;
“The guidance issued today by the state is arbitrary and unacceptable to the industry. Not allowing theme parks to open until Tier 4 will destroy the industry in California and the economic impact to industries that rely heavily on theme parks will be catastrophic. The administration’s actions to this point have cost tens of thousands of jobs across the industry, and today’s announcement will all but confirm that thousands more will be lost. LEGOLAND® California Resort has developed a comprehensive and robust reopening plan, taking every precaution to meet and exceed guidelines
given to other businesses and industries since voluntarily closing seven months ago. All seven other LEGOLAND Parks around the world have reopened safely with millions of guests and twenty thousand employees going through the gates without any COVID-19 incidents. The guidance from the Governor is grossly inconsistent with the guidelines given to other industries and lacks any scientific basis that can be supported by the CDPH.”


Don McCoy, President, Six Flags Magic Mountain:
“Along with leaders from the entire SoCal theme park industry, Six Flags Magic Mountain is deeply disappointed with the state’s decision to keep large theme parks in the yellow tier. Our expansive safety measures meet or exceed all local, state, and federal guidelines. Those procedures include a
state-of-the-art capacity management system, a contactless temperature and security screening process, increased cleaning and sanitation methods, social distancing protocols, and mask requirements for guests and team members.

“Six Flags Magic Mountain is well positioned to re-open, however this latest news could effectively keep us closed indefinitely. The impact on local communities who are dependent on theme park business is devastating. We will continue to do everything we can in conjunction with state and local
officials to get our parks open.”


Karen Irwin, President & COO, Universal Studios Hollywood:
“Pushing us into Tier Four behind other businesses that have already reopened makes no sense. It ignores science, reason and the economic devastation this will bring to the thousands of our employees, the indirect businesses that rely on us and our industry overall.

“The health and safety of our guests and team members has always been our top priority. We have designed detailed health and safety protocols that allowed us to open our theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore. We have collaborated with LA County health and government officials on a
comprehensive plan to move forward safely here, and we are prepared and ready to reopen. Our theme parks are controlled primarily outdoor businesses that we have proven we can operate responsibly.

“We should be in Tier Three, along with other industries that have proven they can reopen responsibly. Our employees are ready to go back to work and the fact that they won’t be able to do so until well into next year is shameful.”