Disney officials on Friday announced they will reopen stores and restaurants in the Disney California Adventure park starting in November, despite the continued closure of theme parks due to reopening restrictions put in place by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Theme park executives from Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Legoland and the company that operates Knott’s Berry Farm came together on Wednesday to decry what they see as an overly-burdensome edict handed down by the State of California and Governor Gavin Newsom on Tuesday. Officials say the state guidelines for reopening make it nearly impossible for them to reopen. Some hinted at legal action.
Theme Parks Hint At Legal Action Over California’s Restrictive Coronavirus Reopening Rules:
The reopening of businesses along Buena Vista Street, the main drag at the opening of California Adventure, is a sort of expansion of Downtown Disney businesses, which reopened in July.
“It could show how they could reopen the parks,” said Mike Lyster, a spokesman for Anaheim. “We welcome this plan to expand.”
The social distancing and other measures taken at Downtown Disney “shows how you can safely and responsibly open the park,” Lyster said. “This is another example of that.”
Disney has clinicians from Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian who check temperatures of guests at Downtown Disney, and if there is an indication of fever, they take them into a tent to let them cool down and check the temperature again, Lyster said. If the guest continues to show a high temperature, then they counsel them on symptoms of COVID-19 and recommend they talk to a doctor, he said.
Orange County CEO Frank Kim said that despite the theme park’s closure, this expansion plan is acceptable.
“It’s not a gray area — it is permitted,” Kim said.
Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park has done something similar, opening up the theme park for just shopping as rides and other live entertainment remains shut down, Kim noted.
“Knott’s Berry Farm consulted us before and we gave them some guidance on it, and I think Disney is doing something very similar,” Kim said.
“You can treat it like an outdoor mall, and that is not a gray area. What you can’t do is have live entertainment and large crowds. But if you treat it like an outdoor shopping venue, I think you can do it.”
The stores to reopen are Elias & Co., Julius Katz & Sons, Kingswell Camera Shop, and the eateries to reopen are Trolley Treats, Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Cafe, Carthay Circle Lounge and Smokejumpers Grill, according to Disney.
City News Service contributed to this report.