California to let Major League Baseball, Disneyland reopen

National

A person walks into an entrance to Disneyland in Anaheim on Sept. 30, 2020, after Disney said it was laying off 28,000 workers amid the toll of the COVID-19 pandemic on theme parks. (Mario Tama / Getty Images)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials will allow people to attend Major League Baseball games and other outdoor sporting events, go to Disneyland and watch live performances in limited capacities starting April 1.

The rules announced Friday coincide with baseball’s opening day. The San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics all have home games scheduled for April 1.

Dr. Mark Ghaly, California’s top public health official, said the state is acting now because the rates of new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are declining while the number of people receiving the vaccine is increasing.

“Today’s announcement is focused on building in some of the compelling science about how the virus behaves, and how activities when done a certain way can reduce risk,” Ghaly said.

California divides its counties into four color-coded tiers based on the spread of the virus. The purple tier is the most restrictive, followed by red, orange and yellow. Attendance limits are based on what tier a county is in.

Theme parks can open in the red tier at 15% capacity and only people who live in California can buy tickets. Attendance limits increase to 25% in the orange tier and 35% in the yellow tier. Indoor rides are allowed because they are short and allow for proper spacing.

Andrea Zinder, president of the local United Food and Commercial Workers Union, said Disneyland employees are “heartened by this good news.”

“They have been furloughed or out of a job for a year now and are excited to go back to work to provide Californians with a bit more magic in their lives,” Zinder said.

Outdoor sports are limited to 100 people in the purple tier. Those limits increase to 20% capacity in the red tier, 33% in the orange tier and 67% in the yellow tier.

Teams can sell tickets regionally in the purple tier and statewide in the other tiers. No concessions are allowed in the purple tier. In other tiers, concessions will be limited to in-seat purchases.

Friday’s announcement only pertains to outdoor activities. Attendance for indoor events, including NBA games and concerts, are still prohibited. Coming up with rules for indoor events is “much more difficult,” said Dee Dee Myers, senior advisor to the governor and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development.

“We will continue to work on that we’ll come back over the next couple of weeks and try to update this so that we can provide more visibility and a path forward for more businesses,” Myers said.

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