Disneyland, other California theme parks can reopen April 1 with limited capacity

Disney characters in front of Disneyland's castle.

Disneyland will be allowed to reopen at limited capacity on April 1, in accordance with new rules announced Friday as part of an update to California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s “Blueprint for a Safer Economy.”

California divides its counties into four color-coded tiers based on the spread of the coronavirus. Attendance limits are based on what tier a county is in.

Theme parks, including Disneyland, will be allowed to open at 15% capacity in the red tier, the second-highest risk level, but only people who live in California can buy tickets.

Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland Resort, said in a statement that Disneyland can’t wait to welcome its guests back and is looking forward to sharing a reopening date soon.

“We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community,” Potrock said.

Orange County, where Disneyland is still in the purple tier for “widespread” risk – only one tier away from reopening-capable red.

The California Attractions and Parks Association’s executive director Erin Guerrero said in a statement that the adjustment was “encouraging news” for the state’s theme parks.

“Parks now have a framework to safely and responsibly reopen,” Guerrero said. “We appreciate the Administration’s willingness to work with the State’s theme on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economies.”

Los Angeles County, home to Universal Studios Hollywood, is in the purple tier. Karen Irwin, president and COO, said in a statement that Friday’s shift is “exciting news.”

“We deeply appreciate the partnership with state and local health and Government officials and are thrilled to have finally arrived at this milestone announcement,” Irwin said. “The health and safety of our guests and team members remain our top priority, and we’re committed to ensuring full compliance with our newly established protocols as we continue to create an exceptional entertainment experience for everyone.”

According to state reopening plans before Friday’s update, larger theme parks wouldn’t be allowed to reopen until the county had a lower threshold of COVID-19 cases – when they reach the the “yellow” tier which is the lowest tier.

But Disneyland announced plans in February for a kind of soft reopen with “A Taste of Disney” a ticketed, limited-capacity experience that will begin on March 18 and run on select days through at least April 19 at Disney California Adventure Park. Tickets went on sale Thursday.

Like Disneyland, Universal also announced a “Taste of Universal” event during which the park plans to welcome visitors back starting March 12 on weekends for outdoor dining and shopping.

Contributing: The Associated Press

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