Disneyland, other California theme parks get OK to open April 1

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Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. California theme parks have been given the green light to reopen on April 1.
Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland. California theme parks have been given the green light to reopen on April 1.

California theme parks will be able to reopen starting April 1.

The state updated its reopening framework, "Blueprint for a Safer Economy," Friday, enabling theme parks, ballparks and stadiums to open April 1 with reduced capacity, mandatory masking and other health and safety protocols.

Capacity limits will be determined at the time of reopening, and admission at first will be limited to California residents, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Parks in California have been closed for nearly one year due to the coronavirus crisis. Theme parks in Florida have been operating with safety measures like reduced capacity in place since last summer.

Disneyland president Ken Potrock said in a statement that a reopening date would be announced 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," he said. "With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can't wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon."

The California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA), which has been pushing the state for months to enable parks to reopen, was pleased with the news.

"Today's announcement from the [Gov. Gavin] Newsom administration is very encouraging news for California's amusement parks," CAPA executive director Erin Guerrero said in a statement. "Parks now have a framework to safely and responsibly reopen. We appreciate the administration's willingness to work with the state's theme parks on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economies."

Mark Ghaly, the secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, said in a statement that several factors went into the decision to reopen parks, including a reduction in case rates and hospitalizations as well as the arrival of three Covid-19 vaccines.

California designates, by county, tiers based on the county's adjusted case rate and its test positivity rate. The capacity theme parks will be permitted to reopen with will be determined by its county's tier. In the red tier, capacity will be limited to 15%; in the orange tier, 25%; and in the yellow tier, 35%.

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