Disneyland, Concerts, Baseball Crowds Could All Come Back April 1 Under California's New Reopening Plan
California's making a major shift to its reopening plans, allowing theme parks and other outdoor entertainment to return as soon as April 1, according to new state Department of Public Health guidelines. Attendance for all will be restricted to visitors from within California, with masks continuing to be required for everyone in attendance.
Theme parks will be allowed to reopen in the red reopening tier, rather than the yellow tier as current guidelines dictate.
Thanks to a decline in case rates and hospitalizations, along with vaccines and progress in vaccinating the most vulnerable, state Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said in a statement:
"California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible."
“We are encouraged that theme parks now have a path toward reopening this spring, getting thousands of people back to work and greatly helping neighboring businesses and our entire community," Disneyland Resort President Ken Potrock said in a statement. "With responsible Disney safety protocols already implemented around the world, we can’t wait to welcome our guests back and look forward to sharing an opening date soon.”
Even when reopening is allowed there will be significant restrictions on attendance. They'll only be able to reopen at 15% capacity in the red tier, then 25% in the orange tier and 35% in the yellow tier — each tier requiring less risk of exposure to COVID-19 as measured by positivity rates, new cases and other metrics.
Both Orange and Los Angeles counties are currently in the purple tier, but both are making progress toward the red tier, with Orange County in particular appearing as though it may hit that target in time for Disneyland to reopen in April.
BASEBALL AND OTHER SPORTS, PLUS CONCERTS
It also just so happens that April 1 is baseball opening day. Fans will be able to attend outdoor sports and live performances, even in counties still in the most restrictive purple reopening tier. However, the numbers will be severely capped at just 100 or fewer people, with only visitors from the region allowed, with advanced reservations required.
But in the red tier, capacity jumps up to 20%, then 33% in the orange tier, and 67% in the yellow tier. Concessions won't be sold while counties are still in the purple tier, but will be allowed to be delivered to people's seats in the red tier.
The Dodgers and the Angels both released statements thanking officials for these loosened restrictions, with the Dodgers saying they plan to announce a new ticket policy, as well as health and safety protocols, within days.
"Like the Governor, we're optimistic that California will continue to make progress in the fight against COVID-19 and that we can safely host fans to start the season," the Dodgers said in their statement.
L.A. County had not yet reviewed the new state guidance Friday afternoon, local Public Health chief science officer Dr. Paul Simon said at a Friday briefing. He said that officials will take a closer look.
"Outdoor [activities are] definitely better than indoor," Simon said. "We will feel a lot more receptive to venues where we can ensure that adequate spacing can be maintained."
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With contributions from Lita Martinez.