Los Angeles Relaxes Theme Parks’ Covid Vaccination Proof Requirements – Slightly – After Industry Complaints
In response to concerns from the theme park industry, Los Angeles The county has relaxed its next Covid-19 vaccination / test obligation for visitors to large sites such as Six Flags Magical mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood, but the overall mandate will remain.
Under a recently enacted county health worker order, all participants and employees at outdoor mega-events with 10,000 or more people will be required to show proof of Covid vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours, on term of office effective October 7.
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The order will apply to large amusement park, which were recently reclassified by the state as a large outdoor event venue.
County theme parks, as well as an industry association, have expressed concerns about the requirement, saying they have limited staff to verify the required documentation – both a vaccine check / tests and photo ID – can lead to long queues for admission to parks. They also argued that customers who purchased tickets in advance before the requirements were announced should be granted a grace period.
Asked about the matter at the supervisory board meeting on Tuesday, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said small changes were being made to make it easier to enforce rules at theme parks such as Magic Mountain and Universal Studios.
Specifically, the county will no longer require proof of a negative Covid test for customers aged 11 and under – an age group that is still not eligible for vaccinations. The county has also removed the requirement for customers aged 17 and under to provide photo ID along with their vaccination / test verification.
The county has also agreed to delay the requirement for photo ID for those aged 18 and over until November 1, although people will still need to provide vaccination verification / testing to from October 7.
Ferrer said the delay “gives everyone more time to set up your systems (vaccine / test verification) then add the ID requirement in November.”
Supervisor Kathryn Barger, whose district includes Magic Mountain, said she sympathizes with the park and her concerns about implementing the county’s requirements, which go beyond those mandated by the state. She said the requirement “took Six Flags by surprise” even though discussions of the requirements have been going on in public for weeks. Barger urged Ferrer to work more closely with industries that could be affected by the new orders for health workers.
Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes Universal Studios, said she was “a lot less patient with companies who have complained like they haven’t seen this coming and are so blinded.”
“The reason they don’t want to change is that they pre-sold millions of dollars in tickets across the country,” Kuehl said.
“We have a huge number of visitors from all over the country, including red states with very high infection rates… That’s a huge number of people, especially for Halloween tickets, which worries Universal. . They really want to thrill the park. I think it’s to their credit that they understand, that they step up, that they want to work on it. But I would say the industry also has a job, and that job is, don’t just send me a letter saying. ‘do not do that.’ Because it is not useful. We’re going to do it, and I don’t mean just with theme parks.
The new county health order will also require proof of vaccination for all customers and employees in the interior parts of bars, wineries, breweries, nightclubs and lounges. All customers and employees will need at least one dose of vaccine by October 7 and a second dose by November 4.
The ordinance recommends, but does not require, vaccine testing for employees and customers in interior parts of restaurants.
City News Service contributed to this report.
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