California Governor Gavin Newsom Sending Teams To Open Parks To Aid With New Park Reopening Guidelines

California Governor Gavin Newsom gave his update about the wildfire and COVID-19 situations earlier today, and in it gave a few more hints about the reopening of the California theme parks.

What’s Happening:

  • Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom took to the camera and delivered his usual updates on the COVID-19 and Wildfire situation in the state.
  • Recently in these updates, the State was ready to release very strict guidelines that not only prompted former Disney CEO Bob Iger to leave the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Group, but also prompted many park operators to protest and request a delay in the release of the guidelines to advise on less stringent rules and regulations.
  • In today’s update, Newsom said that a team will be traveling around the country visiting theme parks that are already open to see the operations for themselves.
  • Newsom also reiterated that everything will be done with the “health first” frame, further collaborating with not only the big name parks, but the smaller parks as well to maintain a distinction between the two.
  • When asked if Newsom would differentiate in the guidelines between a larger park and a smaller park, Newsom (without naming brands) stated that people come from around the world to see some larger parks, and 5% for a larger park could be thousands of people, where a smaller park in a smaller town that same 5% might mean a few hundred and come from the local community.
  • The Governor gave no date for when guidelines would be released, or when any theme parks would be reopened.

What They’re Saying:

  • Gavin Newsom: “This week, just a preview, we will be visiting with some of the larger theme parks continuing those conversations back and forth. We continue in good faith to try to work to get where I know everybody wants to go and that’s to get people back to work and also create more entertainment options but we need to do so in a safe way and we need to do so with a “health first” frame and we are going to continue that hard work and a lot of that work will be advanced even further later this week with some inside visits and some deeper collaboration even beyond some of the larger theme parks but many of the smaller theme parks that want to maintain some distinction from those larger well-known brands here in the state.”
  • “We have supported an effort to actually find out directly by sending our own team to these sites, as it relates to theme parks, to get a better sense of what’s going on. While we absolutely take people’s word for information that they provide us, we want to see things for ourselves.”
  • “[We want] Their own experience, their own insight, we’re trying to get a better handle on what we’re being told, what we’re reading about and our own concerns and our own environment as it relates to what makes our theme parks distinctive and unique and one of the things that is self evident that makes them distinct and unique is location. In and around areas where there’s background transmission rates that are remaining relatively stable in some cases, stubborn in other cases. Yes I’m very mindful, for example if you have in a park in a city a ferris wheel, that that’s not a theme park in the sense that so many of us consider so one has to distinguish between the two. That’s a nuance here, this is an almost entire new set of guidelines and starting from scratch across the board. There’s conference facilities, there’s parades in these theme parks, they’re cities, they’re small cities and there are people from all around the world that descend not just people that are proximate to these theme parks that come together and mix. You can say 5% at a theme park and that's thousands and thousands of people at large theme parks, you say that at something on a pier in a smaller community it's a few hundred. So all this has to be considered, all this is distinctive, and all that requires nuance. So we’re going back and forth. We’re seeking to understand ourselves directly without the intermediaries…we’re doing our own stubborn research and going across states to learn more and not just make it an academic exercise and I want folks to come back and tell me what they saw, what their own experience was. “