Shares of Disney and other theme-park operators rose Thursday after members of the California State Assembly introduced a bill that could allow larger venues to reopen faster than they would have under the state’s current coronavirus pandemic guidelines.
The bill is co-sponsored by Democratic Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva Assemblywoman and Republican Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez-Valladares. If approved, the bill would allow large theme parks with a capacity of 15,000 or more visitors to reopen when their home counties enter the “orange,” or moderate tier, as defined by California’s guidelines on COVID-19 case totals.
Under the state’s current guidelines, smaller theme parks are allowed to reopen when their home counties enter the orange tier, while larger parks had to wait until their locales entered the “yellow,” or minimal tear.
“By opening our theme parks, we will trigger a ripple effect to our local economy, and in turn, create more jobs,” Martinez-Valladares said in a statement obtained by the Orange County Register. “It’s time to offer clear guidelines that will balance public health and the need to safely get people back to work, and this bill is the first step.”
California’s theme parks have been shut down for months as state officials instituted strict guidelines to contend with spiking case totals.
Disney representatives did not immediately return a request for comment on the bill.
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|SIX||SIX FLAGS ENTERTAINMENT||39.35||+2.19||+5.89%|
|SEAS||SEAWORLD ENTERTAINMENT INC||34.60||+3.18||+10.12%|
Disney shares rose more than 2% in trading Thursday on the news. Shares of other theme park operators, including Six Flags, SeaWorld and Comcast, also rose.
In November, Disney disclosed that it would lay off 32,000 employees in the first half of fiscal 2021, including 28,000 workers in its parks division. Executives have been critical of California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials for their implementation of restrictions that have kept parks closed.