For the first time in roughly a year, Bay Area residents will be able to attend outdoor venues for sports and live entertainment and amusement parks, state officials announced Friday.
The state’s new guidance for large events would allow up to 20 percent capacity for sports stadiums and outdoor live performance venues, with assigned seating, and up to 15 percent capacity for amusement parks once the county in which a stadium or park sits is out of the purple tier of the state’s pandemic reopening system.
Stadiums in counties that remain in the purple tier would be capped at only 100 attendees and would also be barred from selling concessions. In-seat concessions can be sold in the purple tier, though concourse sales will still be prohibited
The new stadium and amusement park guidance will take effect April 1, state Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.
Ghaly said Friday during a briefing on the new guidance:
“We have, for many months, drawn a strong distinction between outdoor activities being much less risky than indoor activities.”
Stadium and amusement park attendance will be subject to various coronavirus mitigation measures like mask wearing and physical distancing and attendees will only be allowed if they are California residents, according to state officials.
Ghaly also noted that the state’s travel advisory suggesting that residents refrain from traveling more than 120 miles from their home still remains in effect.
Ghaly and Dee Dee Myers, a senior advisor to Gov. Gavin Newsom, framed the new guidance for outdoor stadiums, venues and amusement parks as another step toward lifting the tiered reopening system, formally dubbed the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, entirely as the state continues vaccinating more residents and case rates continue to fall across the state.
“The goal here is planned obsolescence around the Blueprint more broadly. … We’d like to see it go away but not until it’s safe to do so.”
The new guidance, paired with Thursday’s announcement of the state’s planned modification of the case thresholds at which counties are moved in and out of tiers, sets the stage for fans in the seats when the Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants begin the Major League Baseball regular season on April 1.
A’s President Dave Kaval said in a statement:
“We are excited to safely welcome fans back to our ballpark for the upcoming season.”
“We thank Gov. Newsom for his leadership and guidance during the process and Alameda County for partnering with us to develop a comprehensive plan that complies with local health directives and provides and safe experience for our fans, employees, players and vendors.”
Bay Area amusement parks like California’s Great America in Santa Clara and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk would also be eligible to reopen.
San Francisco and Santa Clara counties have already moved into the red tier, while Alameda and Santa Cruz counties are expected to do so in the next two weeks.