Less than 48 hours after stadiums and theme parks in California could first start reopening, state officials announced on Friday indoor concerts, gatherings, weddings, and other indoor events could reopen starting on April 15th.
According to the new guidelines, indoor concerts and other live events can still not be allowed to reopen beginning on the 15th. However, if a county is in a red tier, 10% of the listed capacity can attend, with the amount increased to 25% if all those attending were tested or show proof of vaccination. For venues with a capacity larger than 1,500 people, testing or vaccination proof is required, with capacity limited to 20%. Orange tier locations under 1,500 capacity will be allowed 15% capacity, or 35% if tested/vaccinated, with larger venues being allowed 10% or 35% if tested/vaccinated. Yellow tier locations offer the most, with small venues being limited to 25% capacity, or 50% if tested/vaccinated. Meanwhile larger venues under the yellow tier are still limited to 10%, but can have 50% if all those attending are tested or vaccinated.
Officials also noted that attendees can sit shoulder to shoulder at events rather than being spaced, but all those that do must be vaccinated and still need to wear masks.
Private events will have a similar tested/vaccinated split. Purple tier private gatherings will still only be allowed outdoors with 25 people, but if all are tested or vaccinated, the capacity is increased to 100. Red tier indoor gatherings can be held indoors, but will be limited to 100 tested/vaccinated people only. However, outdoor gatherings can have up to 50 people, or 200 if tested/vaccinated. Orange and yellow tier indoor gatherings will have similar parameters but will allow up to 150 people and 200 people respectively. Outdoor gatherings also have similar splits, with the orange tier allowing for 100 people or 300 if tested/vaccinated and the yellow tier allowing up to 200 people or 400 if tested/vaccinated.
State officials credited the additional reopenings to a rising number of vaccinated Californians, the expansion of vaccine eligibility, COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates plummeting during the last several weeks, and the successful reopening of large outdoor places such as stadiums and theme parks.
Indoor events to start reopening in two weeks
“Today’s update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a result of the progress we are making both in vaccinations and in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” said California Health and Human Services (CHHS) Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly on Friday. “By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk.”
The Governor’s office issued a similar statement.
“Allowing some of these activities and opportunities to vaccinated individuals is an incentive,” the Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Dee Dee Myers, said on Friday. “If they can return to some of their favorite activities because they’re vaccinated then hopefully a few more people will go and get vaccinated.”
Many on Friday also noted that California has quickened it’s reopening pace considerably in the past several weeks, pointing to the indoor openings on April 15th as fast even compared to the stadium reopening dates last month.
“For the stadiums, it was a one month build up,” Los Angeles event center owner Carlos Medina on Friday told the Globe. “We have two weeks to book again. And since my county (Los Angeles County) is in the orange tier, we can get a lot more people in here than we thought.”
“We’re still working things out, like having a door checker look for vaccination papers or COVID tests, but this was an out of nowhere surprise. We thought it would be another few months of no business, but we’ve already been getting wedding and mother’s day bookings in the few hours since this was announced.”
“We have a long way to go, but it was a great surprise to have on Good Friday.”
More indoor reopenings, such as those concerning sporting events and larger-scale concerts, are expected to be announced in the next several weeks.