LA County vaccine mandate creating challenges for theme parks

Starting Thursday, October 7, if you attend amusement parks in Los Angeles County, you’ll have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before entering the park. 

It’s a mandate that has theme park employees scrambling. 

"Los Angeles County is the only jurisdiction in the entire state that is doing this. So this is all brand new into our parks and we just are asking simply for a little bit more time to comply with the mandate," says Sabrina Demayo Lockhart, the Executive Director of CAPA/California Attractions and Parks. 

She says the big problem with enforcing the LA County mandate is the lack of manpower. 

"You can visit almost any business and you can see ‘Help Wanted’ signs in the window. So we're not alone in this workforce shortage," says Lockhart. 

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At Tuesday’s Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting, Katherine Barger challenged Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on the new requirements for amusement parks like Magic Mountain and Universal Studios. 

Barger said, "I want you to draw me the map as to why you went above and beyond what the state is mandating for theme parks." 

Ferrer responded, "Lots of people are not wearing their masks and they’re eating and drinking and walking around, so there is risk there."

Kids ages 11 and younger who are not eligible for a vaccine will not have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test.

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Beginning Thursday, October 7, those between the ages of 12 and 17 will have to show proof of vaccination or negative test results. The same applies for attendees 18 and older. 

In addition, beginning in November, they’ll also need photo identification.

For Lockhart, asking for all of that information at the gates of a theme park seems daunting. 

She says, "Right now it's a really challenging time for our parks, and we just want to make sure that we have enough hands on deck so that we can do what the county is asking us to do."

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