California Announces Theme Park Reopening Guidelines

California Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly, today, during the state’s COVID-19 briefing, provided an update on the long-awaited theme park reopening guidances.

Dr. Ghaly spoke on the visits made to currently-open theme parks, including those in the United States like Walt Disney World, remarking on higher-risk and lower-risk settings:

Here are the new guidances for theme parks:

The new guidelines mention operation requirements and guidelines based on the California tier system. Here are the details regarding operational guidelines for each tier:

• Purple – Widespread – Tier 1: All operations must be closed.
• Red – Substantial – Tier 2: All operations must be closed.
• Orange – Moderate – Tier 3: Operations are permitted only for smaller parks (see
definition below) and those operators must implement the following
modifications:
o Smaller parks are defined as parks with overall capacity fewer than 15,000
based on the design/operating capacity or fire department occupant
limit.
o Capacity must be limited to 25% of total facility occupancy based on the
design/operating capacity or fire department occupant limit – whichever is
fewer – or 500 people, whichever is fewer.
o Only outdoor attractions are permitted to open; all other indoor attractions
must remain closed.
o Ticket sales must be limited only to those visitors who reside in the same
county as the park’s location.
o Operators must follow the modifications in this guidance and must be
prepared for inspections by public health officials to ensure adequate
implementation of all required modifications. Operators must address and
implement any resulting findings and recommendations
• Yellow – Minimal – Tier 4: Operations are permitted for all amusement park
operators with the following modifications:
o Capacity must be limited to 25% of total facility occupancy based on the
design/operating capacity or fire department occupant limit, whichever is
fewer.
o Capacity on all indoor dining and drinking establishments within the park
must be limited to 25%.
o Operators must follow the modifications in this guidance and must be
prepared for inspections by public health officials to ensure adequate
implementation of all required modifications. Operators must address and
implement any resulting findings and recommendations.

The updated guidelines also include individual control measures and screening protocols.


• Use of face coverings is mandatory throughout the park in all settings
indoor and outdoor, unless actively eating or drinking in designated
dining areas or exempted per the CDPH Face Covering Guidance.
Customers who do not comply should be removed from the facility
immediately.
• Provide temperature and/or symptom screenings for all workers at the
beginning of their shift and any vendors or contractors entering the park.
Make sure the temperature/symptom screener avoids close contact with
workers to the extent possible.
• If requiring self-screening at home, which is an appropriate alternative to
providing it at the establishment, ensure that screening was performed
prior to the worker leaving the home for their shift and follows CDC
guidelines, as described in the Topics for Worker Training section above.
• Encourage workers who are sick or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 to
stay home.
• Employers must provide and ensure workers use all required protective
equipment, including eye protection and gloves where necessary.
• Employers should consider where disposable glove use may be helpful to
supplement frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer; examples are
for workers who are screening others for symptoms or handling commonly
touched items.
• Workers who consistently must be within six feet of guests or co-workers
(e.g., fitting and securing guests with safety equipment) must wear a
secondary barrier (e.g. face shield or safety goggles) in addition to a
face covering.
• Implement a reservation system for the park. Utilize the reservation system to contact guests (e.g. by email, call, or text) with reservations 24 hours before their scheduled arrival to confirm their reservation and ask if they or someone in their household is exhibiting any COVID-19 symptoms. If the guest answers in the affirmative the guest should be instructed that they should not come to the amusement park because they will not be
permitted entry.
• If possible, implement a reservation system or virtual queuing system for
individual attractions to ensure capacity limits and physical distancing
can be maintained.
• Develop a policy that requires guests to wear face coverings or be
denied access to the amusement or theme park.
• Guests should be temperature and/or symptom screened upon arrival,
asked to use hand sanitizer, and must bring and wear a face covering
when not eating or drinking.
• Display a set of clearly visible rules and reminders, including posting
signage at entrances and in other strategic and highly-visible locations
and in ticket purchase confirmations, for guests and personnel that are to
be a condition of entry and must be adhered to during the entirety of the
guest’s visit to the amusement park.
• Designate a sufficient number of staff to enforce adherence to the face
coverings requirement throughout the park to ensure physical distancing
is maintained in all areas, with a particular focus on queues and other
areas of potential congregation.

Additional Updated Guidelines

Additional updated guidelines include protocols and procedures for:

  • Ventilation, Cleaning, and Disinfecting
  • Physical Distancing Guidelines
  • Additional Considerations for Admission, Entry, and Security
  • Additional Considerations for All Rides and Attractions
  • Additional Considerations for Dining and Concessions
  • Additional Considerations for Performances, Interactive Exhibits, and Events
  • Additional Considerations for Uniform, Costume, and Wardrobe

You can read full industry guidelines for theme parks here. 

Stay tuned for more information as it becomes available.

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