Theme parks in California are not out of the woods just yet, as it appears that many of those that have reopened in the wake of COVID-19 will now have to temporarily cease certain operations, thanks to a new regional stay-at-home order.
The order, which affects residents of southern California and the San Joaquin Valley, will go into effect tonight at 11:59 p.m. PT. Gov. Gavin Newsom has said that any region whose intensive care unit (ICU) capacity fell below 15% would be placed under stay-at-home orders.
Under the order, per CNN, restaurants that do not order take-out or delivery will have to close both their indoor and outdoor dining, and retail stores must reduce their overall capacity to 20%. As a result, many of the state’s theme parks that have reopened select offerings will have to adjust their operations – or in some cases, close entirely once again.
While Disneyland and Disney California Adventure remain closed, the Downtown Disney District is still in a phased reopening period, with an extension to Buena Vista Street. However, starting on Monday, Dec. 7, restaurants and dining locations that do not offer take-out will close. Select retail locations will remain open, though no specific closures have been shared at the time of writing.
Knott’s Berry Farm
While Knott’s Berry Farm has not been able to offer its regular park experience to guests, it has adapted to COVID-19 by offering seasonal food festivals throughout the summer and fall.
Knott’s has announced that it will close Knott’s Taste of Merry Farm from Dec. 11-26 because of the new stay-at-home requirements. The park is already in the process of automatically refunding guests who have purchased a tasting card for a date affected by the closure.
SeaWorld San Diego
The stay-at-home order also requires the closure of all zoos, museums, and aquariums, meaning that SeaWorld San Diego, which reopened as a zoo in August of this year, will re-close to guests. In an update from SeaWorld Entertainment’s interm CEO, Marc Swanson, he shared that this temporary closure would be effective as of Dec. 7, and will remain in place until zoos are allowed to reopen in the southern California region.
During this closure, the parks’ veterinarians and animal care staff will continue to care for the animals that live at the park, and animal rescue and rehabilitation operations will continue.
Guests who are affected by this closure will see their Annual Passes extended for the amount of time that the park is closed and unused tickets will be able to be rescheduled for another visit through the end of 2021.
We will continue to monitor any changes with California’s theme parks as this stay-at-home order goes into effect. The order will be in place for at least three weeks, and can only be lifted once a region’s ICU capacity reaches or exceeds 15%.