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County will ease restrictions at theme parks, large venues


Responding to concerns from the theme park industry, Los Angeles County has slightly eased its upcoming COVID-19 vaccination/testing requirement for visitors to large venues such as Six Flags Magic Mountain and Universal Studios Hollywood, but the overall mandate will remain.

Under a recently enacted county Health Officer Order, all attendees and employees at outdoor mega-events with 10,000 people or more will have to show proof of COVID vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours, with the mandate taking effect Oct. 7.

The order will apply to large theme parks, which were recently re-categorized by the state as large outdoor event venues.

Theme parks in the county, along with an industry association, expressed concerns about the requirement, contending they had limited staffing to check the required documentation—both a vaccine/testing verification and a photo ID—potentially leading to long lines for admission to the parks. They also argued that patrons who purchased tickets in advance before the requirements were announced should be given a grace period.

Questioned about the issue during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Sept. 28, county Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said small changes are being made to ease the implementation of the 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 patrons aged 11 and younger—an age group that is still ineligible for vaccinations. The county also removed the requirement that patrons aged 17 and younger provide a photo ID along with their vaccination/testing verification.

The county also agreed to delay the photo ID requirement for people aged 18 and over until Nov. 1, although people will still have to provide the vaccination/testing verification beginning Oct. 7.

Ferrer said the delay “gives everybody more time to put your (vaccine/testing verification) systems in place and then add the ID requirement come November.”