California theme parks and sports stadiums may reopen amid COVID

California theme parks and sports arenas will be able to welcome visitors much earlier than expected under new guidance the state released Friday.

While the changes do not mean that it will continue as usual at large capacity facilities, they do reflect the state’s growing sentiment that, with case rates declining and COVID-19 vaccine deployment continuing to rise, it is now Some activities can be resumed, particularly those that can be done outdoors with additional safety modifications.

“During the pandemic, the California business community has made a commitment to protect the health and safety of workers and customers, and that will not change now,” said Dee Dee Myers, senior adviser to Governor Gavin Newsom and director of the Office. Governor’s Office. and Economic Development, it said in a statement Friday. “We will continue to work together with our partners in all sectors of the economy as we reopen in a safe, sustainable and equitable manner.”

Beginning April 1, amusement parks will be eligible to reopen with limited capacity in counties that are on the red tier, the second strictest on California’s four-category reopening roadmap.

Capacity will be limited to 15% for parks on the red level; the limit increases to 25% once a county advances to the orange level and to 35% when it reaches the most lenient level, yellow.

Officials said attendance will be limited to visitors from the state. Other restrictions will include no indoor dining and limits on indoor rides, although details were not immediately available.

Outdoor sports, with fans, and live performances may also resume on April 1, subject to the following limitations:

  • For counties on the strictest tier, purple, capacity will be limited to 100 people or less, and assistance will be regionally limited. Advance reservations will be required and there will be no concessions or contest sales.
  • At the red tier, capacity will be limited to 20%, with concession sales primarily in seats.
  • The capacity limit will increase to 33% for Orange Tier counties and 67% for Yellow Tier counties. Attendance will be limited to state visitors at the red, orange and yellow tiers.

Counties that have entered the red level include Santa Clara, home of California’s Great America.

Three counties in Southern California with large theme parks (Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties) are at the purple level and will not be able to open immediately. How quickly those areas could reopen depends, in part, on when California can administer an additional 400,000 vaccines to people living in the state’s lowest-income areas, prompting a broad relaxation of the opening criteria.

Even when they reach the state threshold, counties have the authority to impose stricter limits than those authorized by the state.

Newsom administration officials said the changes are being made with a clearer understanding of how fresh air circulating, masking and maintaining physical distancing help mitigate the transmission of the coronavirus.

“With significantly lower case and hospitalization rates, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines, and efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin to gradually and safely bring back more activities, especially those that occur to the outdoors and where consistent masking is possible. Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s secretary of health and human services, said in a statement. “Even with these changes, California retains some of the strongest public health protocols in the country.”

The announcement represents one of the most aggressive relaxations of California’s coronavirus restrictions since the pandemic began.

Under the state’s original plan, large theme and amusement parks like Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain couldn’t reopen until their home county progressed to the yellow level, which would require an adjusted coronavirus case rate of less than 1 new. case per day. per 100,000 inhabitants.

The red tier, by comparison, requires an adjusted daily rate of coronavirus cases equal to or less than 7.0 new cases per day per 100,000 people.

Reaching the red level should be easier with another change the state unveiled this week.

California will now dedicate 40% of the available COVID-19 vaccine to residents in the most disadvantaged areas of the state, including South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, Koreatown, Compton, Southeast Los Angeles County, Santa Ana and the east of the San Fernando Valley.

Once 2 million doses have been administered in these communities, the state will relax the threshold to enter the red level, allowing counties to progress at a rate of up to 10 new cases per day per 100,000 people.

Los Angeles and Orange counties, home to some of California’s largest and most beloved theme parks, already meet that revised case criteria, positioning them to move to the red level in a week or two.

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