Los Angeles to Require All Theme Park Goers Be Vaccinated or Get Tested for COVID-19
Thrill-seekers in Los Angeles will be required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to enter theme parks next month, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced.
Starting Oct. 7, anyone heading to a theme park within Los Angeles county, including Universal Studios Hollywood and Six Flags Magic Mountain, will have to show proof they have been vaccinated or received a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of arriving, according to the department of health. Children under 12 are exempt.
The mandate applies to venues "with more than 10,000 attendees that are ticketed and/or have controlled points of entry to a well-defined area."
"As evidence mounts affirming the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, targeted vaccine requirements to protect the safety of populations at risk for infection are a critical part of policy strategies for preventing future surges of COVID-19," Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the director of LA County's Department of Public Health, said in a statement. "Targeted vaccination requirements are both able to create additional safety at workplaces, schools, establishments and events, and they also increase vaccination coverage in a community."
A representative for Six Flags Magic Mountain confirmed to Travel + Leisure on Monday that the park will follow the latest protocol.
"Six Flags Magic Mountain will comply with the latest Los Angeles County Department of Public Health mandates regarding vaccination verification and COVID testing for park guests," the representative said. "As always, the safety of our guests and team members remains our top priority."
"Theme parks have not been categorized as mega-event venues in previous county health orders and have different operational capabilities and practices," a Universal Studios Hollywood spokesperson told the news outlet. "We are reviewing the updated order with health officials with that context in mind."
Currently, Universal recommends guests who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask in the park and requires all guests wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status.
Unlike its neighboring parks, Disneyland is not located within Los Angeles county and therefore is not covered under the new rules. The park currently requires masks indoors and recommends guests be vaccinated, but does not mandate it.
Representatives for Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Travel + Leisure.
The state of California first allowed theme parks to reopen in April. At first, attendance was mainly limited to in-state residents before theme parks like Disneyland extended the welcome mat to out-of-state visitors a few months later.
The mandate comes on the heels of the city's decision to require proof of vaccination to enter places like bars, wineries, breweries, and nightclubs. Additionally, employees will be required to have received at least one dose of a vaccine by Oct. 7 and will need to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 4.
The city has had an indoor mask mandate in place since July.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.