Visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood and Magic Mountain in Valencia will have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the parks, thanks to new rules that have gone into effect in Los Angeles County.
And the rules are about to get even stricter. Starting November 1, visitors will also need to show photo identification.
“We do have to get ahead of a possible winter surge, and we do have to go to those very high-risk areas” to stop possible transmissions of the virus, county public health director Barbara Ferrer said this week, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The new rules, which don’t apply to Disneyland Resort or Knott’s Berry Farm in neighboring Orange County, were taken as the county is slow to get vaccinated. Ferrer told the Times that slightly more than 60 percent of eligible residents in the county are fully vaccinated, nowhere near the 80 to 85 percent needed for her department to feel safe about herd immunity.
The rules, along with an outdoor mask order, apply to outdoor events with 10,000 or more participants. The theme parks fall into that category, as well as most major sporting events.
“We have spent time at the theme parks, and I can say that when they’re crowded, when they’re hitting that threshold, it’s super crowded,” Ferrer said. “Our inspectors were out for fright nights at both places, and it’s crowded. And people are screaming. And lots of people at the event venues are not wearing masks and they’re eating and drinking and walking around. So there is risk there.”
Park officials are not happy with the decision. A spokesperson for Six Flags, which operates Magic Mountain in Valencia, said the park is nothing like a football stadium or other venues impacted by the rules.
“Our guests are not seated next to unrelated parties for extended periods of time, and we have ample room for parties to social distance,” the park said in a statement.
Likewise, Universal Studios officials said the rule was implemented without any input from them.
“Universal Studios Hollywood will comply with L.A. County Public Health. However, we continue to believe that the process would have benefited from more transparent communication and a willingness to understand the complexities of our business,” a spokesperson told Spectrum News. “We have repeatedly explained there will be operational and staffing challenges that could have been mitigated with more time to execute.”
What Are The Entry Rules?
So what exactly does the new order, which goes into effect today, mean for visitors to Universal Studios and Magic Mountain?
Visitors over the age of 12 will have to show a vaccination card or a digital version that includes their name, the type of vaccine taken, and the date of the last dose.
Those who have not been vaccinated must show a document from a reputable lab or administrator showing a negative test result taken no longer than 72 hours before entry to the park.
Children under 12 are not required to show any documentation.
Once inside the park, visitors must wear a mask both indoors and outdoors unless actively eating or drinking.