Letter from the Legislature

September 28, 2020 
The Honorable Gavin Newsom 
Governor, State of California 
State Capitol, First Floor 
Sacramento, California 95814 

Dear Governor Newsom: 

We write to ask you for immediate consideration of the responsible reopening of California’s theme parks. We all share a commitment to protecting the health and safety of all Californians – employees and theme park guests alike – and much has been learned about COVID since these parks voluntarily shut down more than six months ago. 

Many indoor facilities are already operating safely at reduced capacities, with face covering and physical distancing requirements, and with heightened hygiene practices. Logic would suggest that since theme parks are controlled venues operating predominantly outdoors, that they too could reopen with similar health and safety protocols. 

Meanwhile, theme parks throughout the country and internationally have successfully reopened and one glance at the news makes it obvious that outbreaks simply aren’t being traced back to these theme parks. Your Administration has been rightfully reliant on data and science and, to date, the data and science do not point to theme parks as sources of transmission. 

We greatly appreciate your Administration’s persistent efforts to bend the COVID curve while also unveiling your “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.” With this “statewide, simple, slow, stringent” process, you are showing that fighting this virulent disease does not have to preclude the state from steadily reopening its economy and getting people back to work. Theme parks, however, have not been addressed in this Blueprint – they have no path forward, no guidance documents for the state’s expectations related to reopening, and no sense of timing to share with their anxious employees and guests. Counties are already beginning to move through tiers and yet none know when this large sector within their communities will be allowed to reopen. 

With this as backdrop, we believe the time is now to move forward with theme park reopenings. Theme parks have spent the past six months preparing to reopen in a responsible manner. They have comprehensive plans that include capacity reductions, thorough health and safety protocols, and park-wide modifications to support these efforts. 

We ask your Administration to provide the theme park industry with their guidance documents promptly so they can ensure their preparations are consistent with state expectations. We furthermore ask your Administration to place theme parks appropriately within the Blueprint in a way that allows them to responsibly reopen soon for the good of our constituents, communities, economies, local businesses, and local governments. 

Again, we all share a commitment to health and safety and letting science and data guide our decisions. Data seems to point to a path for responsible reopening of theme parks. Doing so will not only provide safe, outdoor activities for families but also put people back to work and generate much needed income for our local governments. 

Thank you for your consideration of this request.