California looks to reopen to tourism
It has been reported by media outlets that travel restrictions implemented in California due to the coronavirus pandemic have loosened leading to the potential reopening of many tourism hot spots.
Generally, measures such as physical distancing and enhanced sanitation practices remain a priority for residents and visitors alike. Most hotels, campgrounds, RV parks, restaurants, wineries, museums, family entertainment centres, retail operations, beaches and national parks, including Yosemite National Park, are open or in the process of reopening. However, theme parks have remained closed, and mass spectator events and conventions are forbidden. It is recommended that visitors call California’s local and regional tourism offices ahead of their intended visit to learn about local restrictions.
The theme park division of Disney plans a phased reopening of the Disneyland Resort with Downtown Disney District opening on the 9th of July. Disneyland and Disney California Adventure follow on the 17th July and The Grand Californian Hotel & Spa and the Paradise Pier Hotel have targeted the 23rd of July to start to welcome guests, pending state and local government approval.
Universal has already announced that some stores and restaurants at CityWalk in Universal City have opened for the first time but a reopening date for Universal Studios Hollywood has yet to be confirmed.
All this, despite a scenario described by Doctor Christina Ghaly, the Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, where “the spread of COVID-19 in the Los Angeles County area is likely to increase gradually over time,” potentially reaching a situation in the next 2-4 weeks where the number of hospital ICU beds becomes inadequate.
Even though Disneyland is in neighbouring Orange County, the increase in Coronavirus cases in LA County is concerning. Health officials also have approved the restart of film and TV production, provided that proper health and safety protocols are followed. The Hollywood community is proceeding with caution.
To comply with governmental requirements and promote physical distancing, capacity at the California parks will be significantly limited. Disneyland Resort officials say they will manage attendance through a new theme park reservation system that will enable all guests, including annual pass holders, to reserve park entry in advance and, to help visitors navigate the new process, a “guest experience team” will be available throughout the parks.
To avoid the gathering of large crowds, experiences such as parades and nighttime events, will not recommence immediately and character meet-and-greets will be suspended for the time being. However, the company says that Disney Characters will be in the parks “in new ways to entertain and delight guests.”
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