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KPBS Midday Edition

California Theme Parks Not The Happiest Places Right Now

The entrance to Legoland California Resort is seen here on Aug. 28, 2020.
Nicholas McVicker
The entrance to Legoland California Resort is seen here on Aug. 28, 2020.
California theme parks and their surrounding communities face the loss of billions more in revenue as the state's coronavirus restrictions threaten to keep parks such as Legoland and Disneyland closed during the holidays.

New state coronavirus regulations announced last week will not allow the state's large theme parks, such as Legoland and Disneyland, to reopen until new cases of COVID-19 in their surrounding counties drop significantly — to 2% or less.

After being closed for seven months, leaders of large theme parks expressed their fury at what they see as unfair and unreasonable treatment by the state at a news conference and indicated that litigation was a possibility.

Kurt Stocks, president of Legoland in Carlsbad said the regulations will destroy the industry and the economic impact to businesses that rely on theme parks will be catastrophic.

California's blueprint for reducing COVID-19 includes a four-tier system with criteria for loosening or tightening restrictions on activities. San Diego County is currently in tier two, which is color-coded red, for substantial risk, with a seven-day average of 5% to 8% positive tests.

Dropping to tier four — which indicates minimal risk — is likely to take many months.

Lori Weisberg, The San Diego Union-Tribune reporter covering tourism and hospitality, joined KPBS Midday Edition on Monday to talk about the effect of the pandemic on theme parks and the reaction to the regulations for reopening.

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