On Tuesday, California Governor Gavin Newsom laid out a plan on how to gradually modify the stay-at-home order and allow certain businesses and schools to reopen. Joined by the Department of Public Health Director Dr. Sonia Angeli, he called for a slow reopening, in stages. The main take from this plan is that the opening of Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood might still take a while.
All of California is currently in Stage 1, a stay-at-home order, where everyone is either staying at home or a member of the essential workforce.
Stage 2 would see the reopening of lower risk workplaces, including non-essential manufacturing (toys, furniture, clothing, etc.), schools, childcare facilities, and retail businesses for curbside pick-up. Offices where working remotely isn’t possible could start to modify their work environments to make it safer for employees.
As far as the schools are concerned, the governor is also looking at reopening K-12 schools in late July or early August to make up for learning loss. However, no final decision has been made. Stage 2 could also see limited access to public spaces, including some parks.
Stage 3 would see the reopening of hair and nail salons, gyms, movie theaters, sporting events WITHOUT live audiences, and in-person religious gatherings such as church services and weddings. All of these are considered higher risk, requiring close proximity to other people. Governor Newsom, however, pointed out that it would be months before the state would allow large gatherings like concerts or sporting events.
Stage 4 would be the end of the stay-at-home order, which in turn would allow for the reopening of concert venues, convention centers, and sporting events with live audiences.
Governor Newsom said that stage 2 is weeks away, stage 3 is months away, and that stage 4 won’t arrive until treatments for the coronavirus have been developed.
At some point local governments and counties will be allowed to relax restrictions based on developments on the local level.
What does this mean for theme parks such as Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood?
First and foremost, theme parks were not specifically mentioned in Governor Newsom’s 4-step plan. It is clear, however, that he expects substantial operational changes from the theme parks.
Theme parks in California, such as Disneyland Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood, could be included in phase 3 should they adopt substantial operational changes to support social distancing and guarantee the safety of their guests and Cast Members.
Without adequate, satisfactory changes, theme parks would likely fall into phase 4, which Newsom said might not be reached “for some time.”
Once the parks, hotels, and restaurants are up and running again, the final decision will rest with the consumers. Will guests have the financial capabilities and the confidence to travel once more? Will they feel safe?
More information on all COVID-19 closures can be found here.