February 4, 2021

Politicians Propose Bill to Speed Disneyland and Universal Studios Reopening

By Pat Saperstein

California Assembly member Sharon Quirk-Silva announced Thursday that she would co-sponsor a bill to require the state to let all theme parks reopen in the same tier of COVID guidelines.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy allows small theme parks, with less than 15,000 visitor capacity, to reopen when the state hits the orange or moderate tier. Meanwhile, large parks such as Disneyland are not allowed to reopen until the state achieves the yellow tier, meaning a minimal level of COVID infections.

Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez-Valladares, whose district includes Six Flags Magic Mountain, will co-sponsor the bill, known as AB 420.

“As a veteran of the theme park industry, I intimately understand their operations, their procedures, and their ability to move people and keep them safe,” said Martinez-Valladares. “The industry, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in my district, has been closed for nearly a year, while parks in other states have been open to the public and serving them safely.

Universal Parks in other areas are operating safely, said Universal Studios Hollywood President Karen Irwin.

“This extended closure has been both unprecedented and detrimental to our business and workforce,” Irwin said in a statement to the Orange County Register. “Universal Parks & Resort theme parks in Orlando, Osaka and Singapore have all successfully and safely operated without incident or cases attributed to their daily operations since mid-last year.”

Irwin said keeping larger theme parks in tier 4 would likely keep them closed indefinitely.

Limiting reopening to the state’s yellow/minimal tier 4 could keep Universal and other large California theme parks “closed indefinitely,” according to Irwin, which would have a devastating effect on jobs in the theme park business.