Great America, Discovery Kingdom prepare for reopening under latest CA COVID-19 guidelines

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk have been partially open
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KGO) -- Theme parks are celebrating the decision by the California Department of Public Health to allow for some rides to open by April 1.

The gates at California's Great America have been shut since New Year's Eve 2019 when their season ended. The opening date in March 2020 was indefinitely postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic intensified.

In January 2021, their website had announced an opening date of May 22. Though, in a statement, a spokesperson said they are now "looking forward to seeing the specific details and guidelines in the coming weeks that will help inform our plans for reopening."

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In Vallejo, officials at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom said they were pleased by the announcement. They have been allowing visitors inside since July of 2020, but only for some of their animal exhibits.

"Our team members are eager to welcome guests back to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom with a full complement of our world-class coasters, rides, and animals in a safe, outdoor environment. An official opening date will be posted on our website and social channels in the near future," wrote the spokesperson.

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk has also been partially open, though rides like the iconic Giant Dipper have remained closed.

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Spokesperson Kris Reyes told ABC7, "we are encouraged by the State's revised framework that will allow amusement parks to open rides and attractions in a safe manner for employees and guests."

However, at this time they did not have a timetable for reopening their rides and attractions.

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The new guidelines from the state will allow theme parks to operate at 15% capacity when the county is in the red tier. That will increase to 25% in the orange tier and 35% in the yellow tier. Outdoor rides like roller coasters will be allowed to operate. Indoor rides will have further restrictions on capacity. For now, only California residents will be able to make reservations.

The California Attractions and Parks Association released a statement saying, "today's announcement from the Newsom Administration is very encouraging news for California's amusement parks. Parks now have a framework to safely and responsibly reopen. We appreciate the Administration's willingness to work with the State's theme parks on the finer details of the plan so parks can responsibly reopen soon, putting people safely back to work and reinvigorating local economies."

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