Local theme parks cautiously reopen

In March of 2020, amusement parks throughout the state of California were shut down due to the spread of COVID-19.  One year later, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that amusement parks would be open to California residents only as of April 1, 2021.  

While the COVID rates have continued to drop with the rollout of the vaccine, the parks will continue with safety guidelines to help mitigate any continued COVID spread. Some guidelines include maintaining 6 feet distance between guests, opening at 15 percent capacity, and enforcing face covering within all guests.  

Six Flags was the first park to reopen on April 3, followed by Universal Studios on April 16.  Disneyland opened on April 30, and Knotts Berry Farm on May 21. 

“I attended Knotts Berry Farm and they did follow COVID guidelines by keeping 6 feet distance in the lines and strictly enforcing the use of a face covering,” said eighth-grader Marie Gonzalez.

Some parks opened before the public to pass holders holding a preview with reservations, showing how the park would be since the closing back in March of 2020.  Amusement parks like Disneyland honored their cast members by holding a private event which was a viewing of the park before opening up to the public. The viewing took place on April 27-29.  After the pass holder preview, amusement parks officially opened their doors to the public with reservations only, ensuring they were California residents by putting in their zip code. 

“I attended Disneyland and Disney California Adventure. It felt different because the Disney characters are separated far from the guest and the lines were socially distanced,” said eighth-grader Aryanna Ponce. 

Because the parks strictly enforcing COVID guidelines, no notable increase of COVID have been reported, leaving amusement parks to stay open.  Because of this, amusement parks have been raising their capacity rate with Disneyland at 35%, Universal 35%, Knotts operating at 29,000 guests, and Six flags operating at 69,000 guests.  Unless there is a drastic change in COVID cases, all parks will open to full capacity on June 15 when the California economy is scheduled for a mostly full reopening.