Theme-Park Shares Rise on California Bill to Reopen Properties

Shares of theme-park operators rose Thursday after two California Assembly members introduced legislation to reopen the properties sooner than in current proposals.

Assemblywomen Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Democrat, and Suzette Martinez-Valladares, a Republican, sponsored a bill that would allow the state’s theme parks to reopen when their home counties reach the orange, or moderate, tier in terms of coronavirus cases. Under the current state plan, large theme parks aren’t allowed to reopen until their counties are in the yellow, or minimal, tier.

“Through collaboration with industry leaders, responsible and safe tourism can be used as a pathway to recovery,” Quirk-Silva said in a statement.

Shares of Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios parent Comcast Corp., Cedar Fair LP, Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. all rose with the news.

Theme parks in the nation’s most-populous state have been closed since March. SeaWorld’s San Diego park reopened briefly last year but not its rides. Other operators, including Disney and Cedar Fair, which owns Knott’s Berry Farm, opened parts of their parks for food and shopping.

California’s lockdown strategy regarding the virus stands in sharp contrast with Florida, where theme parks began reopening last June.

California Governor Gavin Newsom has been under pressure to reopen segments of the economy. The Democrat faces a recall effort that has already gathered hundreds of thousands of signatures. Last week, the state began reopening businesses such as hair salons and outdoor-dining restaurants as its virus caseloads declined from midwinter peaks.

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