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California to allow theme parks and outdoor stadiums to reopen April 1

Outdoor sports and live performances with fans and attendees are eligible to begin April 1 with limited capacity.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — California public health officials announced Friday that outdoor theme parks and outdoor stadiums will be allowed to reopen Apr. 1 in red, yellow and orange tiers with limited capacity, said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency.

“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. Ghaly. “Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”

Petco Park, SeaWorld, Legoland and other major outdoor attractions and sports/performance venues across the state will be subject to strict conditions based on a county's rate of COVID-19 spread, strict capacity-control mandates and required mask-wearing, state officials announced Friday.

The announcement marks a major policy shift relating to theme parks, which the state had earlier said would not be permitted to reopen until their home counties reached the least-restrictive tier of the state's "Blueprint for a Safer Economy," a four-level system guiding reopenings of businesses and other attractions. 

Changes to the Blueprint include:

Outdoor sports and live performances (with fans/attendees) are eligible to begin April 1. 

Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors in the Red, Orange and Yellow tiers:

  • In the Purple tier, capacity will be limited to 100 people or fewer and attendance will be limited to regional visitors. Advanced reservations will be required, and no concession or concourse sales will be allowed;
  • In the Red tier, capacity will be limited to 20%. Concession sales will be primarily in-set (no concourse sales);
  • In the Orange tier, capacity will be limited to 33%;
  • In the Yellow tier, capacity will increase to 67%.

Amusement parks are eligible to reopen in the Red tier beginning April 1.

Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors:

  • In the Red tier, capacity will be limited to 15%;
  • In the Orange tier, that limitation will increase to 25%;
  • In the Yellow tier, the limitation will increase to 35%.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher posted the following statement on Twitter Friday: “This is another strong step forward in our COVID recovery. We have worked hard to get to this point and this new State guidance will deliver a safe return to having fans at Padres games, outdoor concerts and amusement parks.”  

Kurt Stocks, President of Legoland California is ready to open and is looking to hire additional staff. "As of today, we have been closed for 51 weeks. We also get to welcome many, many staff back. We’ve had over a thousand staff on furlough for the best part of 12 months now," he said. 

Disneyland Resort President, Ken Potrock, issued the following statement Friday: "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. 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."

The San Diego Padres CEO Erik Greupner issued the following statement Friday: “We are excited to hear today’s announcement, which creates a path to welcome our loyal and passionate fans back home to Petco Park for the 2021 season, and we thank Governor Newsom and his staff for their collaborative efforts. Our number one priority is providing our fans with a safe and fun experience when they return to the ballpark. We have been diligently preparing to ensure that Petco Park is one of the safest places to be in San Diego this season. We expect that Padres fans will be able to support our team in-person beginning on Opening Day and our players are eager to have them back at Petco Park. We will communicate with our season ticket members soon regarding the details of their return to Petco Park. San Diego and our country have been through a very difficult period and we are proud that once again the great game of baseball can serve as a unifying and healing force in our community.”


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