LA County Supports Less Strict Threshold for Theme Park Reopenings

February 23, 2021 Updated: February 24, 2021

LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors went on record this week in support of Assembly Bill 420, which seeks to allow theme parks to reopen earlier.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger recommended on Feb. 23 that the board back the bipartisan bill by Assembly members Sharon Quirk-Silva and Suzette Martinez Valladares.

The bill would amend the state’s industry guidance to allow amusement and theme parks to open once a region is in the moderate or orange risk tier rather than the lower minimal or yellow tier.

Barger sent a letter of support to the bill’s sponsors earlier this month.

“With full outdoor operations and the ability to maintain physical distancing, theme parks across the country have proven that they can safely reopen,” Barger wrote. “Large theme parks nationwide began reopening last summer and there [have] not yet been any outbreaks or spread from these establishments.”

Barger said that densely populated counties such as Los Angeles would have a very difficult time meeting the minimal risk tier criteria of less than one daily case of COVID per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate of less than 2 percent, which she said was unwarranted.

She cited a Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) report that the amusement, gambling, and recreation sector has experienced the highest percentage of job losses in the county, with more than 98 percent of jobs lost in the earliest months of the pandemic.

Most of those impacted are low-income workers with an average salary of $32,000 per year, according to the LAEDC study.

The board’s vote was unanimous.