Coronavirus

Amusement Parks Allowed to Reopen in Red Tier Starting Next Month

Amusement parks will be allowed to reopen at 15% capacity in the red tier

This aerial photo shows the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in 2015. PHOTO: TARMO HANNULA

Outdoor amusement parks in California counties in the red tier of the state’s Covid-19 reopening plan will be allowed to welcome back customers next month, the California Department of Public Health announced Friday afternoon.

Live outdoor sporting events and performances will, too, be allowed to return in all counties across the state—regardless of what tier they’re in—under the CDPH’s updated guidance for outdoor activities.

Under the guidance, amusement parks will be allowed to reopen at 15% capacity in the red tier, the second most restrictive tier of the state’s four tier system. They may increase their capacity by 10% in the subsequent orange and yellow tiers.

Only in-state visitors will be allowed, and masks will be mandatory, as well as several other public health precautions, according to the CDPH.

Live outdoor sporting events and performances will be allowed in every tier. Like amusement parks, they face strict capacity restrictions. 

In the most-restrictive 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-seat (no concourse sales). In the orange tier capacity will be limited to 33% and in the yellow tier capacity will increase to 67%. 

Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors in the red, orange and yellow tiers.

The move is expected to be good news for the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which has been shuttered for most of the pandemic. That local recreation giant was the first theme park to reopen in California in November, but a spike in cases around the holidays closed it after just one week.

With case rates plummeting and vaccines being administered at a steady rate, Santa Cruz County is expected to move to the red tier this week, County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said at Thursday’s weekly press conference.

That means several indoor business operations could reopen on Wednesday, March 10. That includes indoor dining, aquariums, museums, dance studios, gyms and movie theaters, all of which have been shuttered by state restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

A move to the red tier would also mean that middle and high schools could start to welcome students back to the classroom. Schools in counties that have met the criteria for school reopening have a three-week period to open, even if the county stops meeting the criterion during that window.

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