LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - California theme parks are exploring legal action and other options to hasten the reopening of the industry in the state, company executives said on Wednesday.
“All options are open at this point,” Erin Guerrero, executive director of the Californian Attractions and Parks Association, told a news conference when asked whether legal action was being considered.
Guerrero was responding to tough guidance by California health officials on Tuesday that pushed the reopening of Disneyland and other large parks months down the road.
The news conference was attended by senior executives from Walt Disney Co’s Disneyland, Comcast Corp’s Universal Studios, Legoland and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. All of them have been closed since mid-March because of the global pandemic.
“Our No. 1 goal is to be allowed to reopen responsibly. Obviously we’d love to keep that conversation going,” Guerrero said. “At this point any options are viable.”
California Health Secretary Mark Ghaly said on Tuesday that theme parks with a capacity of more than 15,000 visitors must wait to resume business until a county’s COVID-19 risk level drops to the lowest tier of “minimal” spread.
Disney, which last month laid off 28,000 employees in its theme park division, said the guidelines would keep Disneyland “shuttered for the foreseeable future.”
“The concept of trying to come up with a collaborative solution is the end goal for all of us,” Ken Potrock, president of the Disneyland resort, said at the news conference.
Universal Studios President Karen Irwin said the new guidelines meant the theme park in Hollywood was unlikely to reopen until well into 2021.
Theme parks in Florida and other countries have reopened without major coronavirus outbreaks but with strict social distancing, testing and mask use, the California operators said.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang
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