TimesOC: Anaheim supports bill that would reopen Disneyland, Knott’s

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning and welcome to the TimesOC newsletter. It’s Wednesday, Feb. 17. I’m reporter Ben Brazil, writing from Irvine today.

The Happiest Place on Earth hasn’t been so happy lately.

But all those ravenous Disneyland fans craving to dust off their Mickey ears and pin collections may have reason to celebrate this week after the Anaheim City Council backed a state bill on Tuesday that could allow Disneyland to reopen from its pandemic closure earlier than expected.

Assembly Bill 420 would allow larger theme parks such as Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm to reopen after meeting the same requirements as smaller amusement parks.

The state’s theme park reopening guidelines hold that a larger theme park can reopen at only 25% capacity when its county is in the minimal tier of less than one new COVID-19 case per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of less than 2%. Smaller theme parks can operate at limited capacity once their county has reached the moderate tier of 1 to 3.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day and a coronavirus positivity rate of 2% to 4.9%.

Mayor Harry Sidhu, who proposed the item, said reopening Disneyland is critical to the healing of the local economy.

It’s notable that Sidhu’s campaign received $2,000 from Disney during his mayoral run in 2018. Disney donated at least $1.6 million to candidates and city ballot measures during the 2018 election, including current council members Jordan Brandman and Trevor O’Neil.

Not everybody is on board with the bill.

Councilman Jose Moreno, who regularly finds himself on a political island on the Anaheim dais, was the only dissenter of the 6-1 vote.

Moreno said he’s worried about the potential spreading of the virus in the surrounding resort area.

“We are talking about pushing legislation to allow sooner 25,000 to 35,000 visitors to come to Anaheim every single day,” Moreno said. “Not to mention the 5,000 to 10,000 employees who will have to work to serve those folks.”

On Thursday, the county’s vaccination site at Disneyland was forced to close after a storm in Texas and other parts of the South delayed delivery of the vaccine.

People with appointments were turned away and will be provided with information on how to reschedule.

The earliest the site could reopen is Monday.

Nurse Celina Mande, left, tries to connect iPad.
Nurse Celina Mande, left, tries to connect an iPad so Joseph Trejo, on a ventilator, can hear a mariachi band arranged by his wife, Patty Trejo, center, playing “La mano de Dios” (The Hand of God), his favorite song, in the parking lot of St. Jude Medical Center on Monday in Fullerton.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

NEWS

— O.C. deputies argued over whether to stop Black man before fatally shooting him

— Orange County sheriff releases video of fatal San Clemente shooting

— Column: In late Orange County senator, one finds a Republican who would have stood up to Trump

— UCLA student with extremist views who FBI says sat in Pence’s chair is charged in Capitol riot

Vaccination site opens at Santa Ana College to target areas hard-hit by COVID-19

— A new permanent bridge shelter in Costa Mesa, furnished by IKEA, will open to clients in March

Local coastal plan amendment for short-term rentals on Newport Island delayed

Red tier could be in sight as Orange County coronavirus metrics improve

— FBI probe into Capitol riot activity lands in O.C. again, with UCLA student arrested in Costa Mesa

— Huntington Beach City Council clarifies city law on belongings left in public

Enjoying this newsletter?

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Subscribe to the Los Angeles Times at latimes.com/subscribe.

SPORTS

— Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani is happy to be free of restrictions on his use

— Angels’ Andrew Heaney loves the instant feedback from his new Rapsodo for good measure

— Why Angels pitching coach Mickey Callaway hasn’t been fired for alleged harassment

— Los Alamitos product Jacob Nix of the Padres looks to move on from doggie door episode

OPINION

— Editorial: O.C. D.A. Todd Spitzer is suddenly talking a good game on racial justice. Judge him by his actions

— A Word, Please: A copy editor confronts a week’s worth of challenges

— Commentary: Reaching out to vulnerable populations about COVID-19 vaccinations

— Apodaca: Defense company’s move-in underscores journalism’s perilous state

FOOD

It all started with pho. The rest is his story

LIFE & ARTS

— Trauma in times of COVID-19 tackled in Newport Beach church’s Zoom series

— Piecing together a picture of ‘Car Culture’ at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art

— Seniors in long-term care receive handmade Valentine’s Day cards

— Orange County teen designed cart with bed, toilet and storage for homeless

5 million diapers donated to Orange County parents-in-need by Garden Grove nonprofit

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.