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Photograph: Stephanie Breijo

Some theme parks and baseball stadiums can reopen April 1 with limited capacity in California

Only in counties that have moved into the red tier—which itself will become easier to attain soon.

By
Michael Juliano
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Los Angeles is already coming very close to being able to reopen more sectors of its economy, and now California has added a couple of major additions to that list.

On Friday, the state announced two massive changes to its color-coded reopening framework: Counties that are in the red tier can allow theme parks to reopen and stadiums and outdoor performances venues to host fans and attendees—all at limited capacities—as early as April 1. Previously, sporting events and large theme parks were reserved for the orange and yellow tiers, respectively.

However, like all state-level reopening guidelines, it’ll ultimately be up to individual counties to decide whether or not they’ll permit such reopenings to occur. Or they may allow them but impose even stricter rules, like when L.A.—which currently sits in the most-restrictive purple tier—allowed outdoor dining to resume but ordered TVs to remain off.

Large theme parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood will now be able to reopen—with rides—once they hit the red tier. But there will be some very specific restrictions: Capacity is limited to 15%, visitors must be from California and can only arrive in small groups (max 10 people or three household groups with no inter-group mixing), indoor dining must remain closed and any other indoor areas can only be operated at 15% capacity with time restrictions. Those capacities scale up 10 percentage points each tier, up to 35% at yellow.

UPDATE: In a statement published on Twitter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek says he expects Disneyland to reopen in a “limited capacity by late April,” and the company plans on recalling 10,000 furloughed employees as a result.

For sports and live performances, such events can actually resume outdoors in the purple tier with up to 100 attendees—which doesn’t really help for something like baseball, but does mean things like concerts, comedy shows and screening series should be able to host small outdoor events again. Attendance would be limited to regional visitors only, which is defined as people within 120 miles.

Once in the red tier, capacity bumps up to 20%, which means places like Dodger Stadium could fill a fifth of its seats with in-state visitors (through all of the color-coded tiers, attendance is limited to in-state). That capacity caps out at 57% in the yellow tier. Concession sales would be limited to in-seat ordering in all tiers.

“With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, in a statement.

The news coincides with some changes to the state’s reopening framework that were previewed earlier in the week but have now been formalized: Once two million people in the most vulnerable quartile of the state have been vaccinated (1.6 million in this group were vaccinated as of Thursday), it’ll be easier for a county to move out of the purple. Currently, a county needs its case rate to stay under seven per 100,000 people for two weeks to move into the red tier, but after two million shots that number will change to 10.

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