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California’s biggest theme parks call on Newsom government to fully reopen

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On Monday, the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA), the trade organization that represents 8 of California’s largest theme parks, including Disneyland and Universal Studios, asked Governor Gavin Newsom to allow them to reopen citing financial distress. and employees.

Theme parks in California have been closed for six months and it counts

Theme parks in California have been largely closed since mid-March. While many have since partially reopened or allowed only a limited number of guests for special events, none have fully reopened. Those that have partially reopened have only allowed certain rooms to function like aquariums or outdoor shopping malls. Rides and shows remain closed in parks due to state COVID-19 reopening rules.

CAPA, which represents California Great America, Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Legoland California, SeaWorld San Diego, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios, said on Monday that the theme parks must get approval from the ‘State to reopen soon as businesses are losing a lot of money due to closures. The closures also mean thousands of Californians who worked in the parks remain unemployed.

“California Amusement Parks Urge The Governor To Promptly Issue Amusement Park Guidelines So That These Vital Community Attractions Can Responsibly Reopen Their Doors And Get Residents Back To Work,” said Erin Guerrero, CEO of ACAM, in a press release. As evidenced by the many theme parks open in the United States and around the world, visiting an attraction will not be the same as it was before COVID, but California theme parks are poised to responsibly reopen . “

Employees fear permanent loss of dream job, financial problems

Many employees also feel the burden.

“It’s been six months, and I’ve been stuck at home waiting to return to a dream job while my finances are deteriorating and unemployment continues to decline,” Maria, a Universal Studios employee who did not want not that she lasts name used, explained in an interview with The Globe. “A lot of theme park workers, especially at Universal and Disney, have jobs they just can’t give up. These are people who want to work there because it’s the only place you can pilot the jungle cruise, become a wizard, or be a part of Star Wars as a decent paying job.

“We all know that we have to do what we have to do to survive, but it is also getting rid of our dream. We know that parks are losing money because of this, but you have to remember that there are thousands of enthusiastic employees who put their lives on hold for it. There are engineers who turned down cushy government engineering jobs to become imaginers and janitors who took on a themed job in order to impress their children. Every level has this kind of devotion to the park. And by preventing us all from working, not only are you losing money, but you are losing employees willing to bend over backwards for the success of the parks.

“Each week that goes by means you have to find a lot more employees with the same level of enthusiasm. It’s not as easy as it sounds, even with so many people wanting jobs in these parks. They are called cast members for a reason, not “staff” or “employees.” “

Many theme parks have noted that since partial reopens were reopened in recent months, no outbreaks have been recorded.

“We have taken every precaution with our draft health and safety plan to meet and exceed the guidelines given to other companies and industries,” Legoland officials said. “We are now calling on the State of California to recognize the level of detailed planning undertaken so that we can work on the reopening with state and county councils.”

ACAM also noted plans to reopen.

“During those six months, the parks made detailed plans to reopen, they include capacity reductions, face coverage requirements, robust health and safety protocols for customers and employees, and modifications. important to support physical distance, ”added Guerrero. “These practices will promote health and safety in a way that many activities Californians enjoy today. However, to reopen the parks need advice from the state and that advice has not been provided. “

‘We need it. Wrong.’

Governor Gavin Newsom. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for the California Globe)

Governor Newsom appeared cautious but upbeat in plans to reopen theme parks in July, but announced a second peak in COVID-19 in early summer and canceled plans to reopen.

Although he did not respond to CAPA on Monday, Newsom made several statements last week alluding to an upcoming reopening.

“Conversations are going on, just as a reminder, for theme parks, amusement parks and the like,” Newsom said last week. “There are still many areas in which we are open in terms of negotiations. Progress and advance in the same space. Getting closer to the conclusion when and how to reopen these areas safely. Epi data shows us the way and gives us the ability to make determinations. We will make these determinations in real time. “

With disney stand up to lose billions, and smaller theme park operators like Cedar Fair and Six Flags who plan to lose tens of millions of dollars this year alone, theme parks want to recoup what they can this year for the last few months ahead of lucrative dates. Halloween at the end of October.

“We always do crazy business around Halloween,” a Six Flags employee told The Globe. “In the North and the North-East, this is the last time they are open for the season. In California and Florida, it’s the last hurray before more timid winter months.

“We need it. Bad. It may not seem like, but a whole huge industry is at stake here.”

Evan symon

Evan V. Symon is the editor of the California Globe. Prior to The Globe, he reported for the Pasadena Independent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and was Head of the Personal Experiences section at Cracked. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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