California indoor events return with COVID vaccines and testing

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California indoor events return with COVID vaccines and testing


California will allow the resumption of live indoor events with limitations starting at the end of the month, which means an imminent return of things like concerts, sports competitions and theatrical performances that have long been banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes to the state’s reopening plan, which will take effect on April 15, reflect two parallel trends, officials said.

First, California continues to gain ground in its battle against the coronavirus, with the number of newly confirmed cases and associated hospitalizations continuing to trend down.

And second, the rollout of vaccines in the state is advancing, with hundreds of thousands of doses administered every day.

“By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and immunizing when eligible, we can resume additional activities while taking steps to reduce risk,” said Dr Mark Ghaly, Secretary of Health and California Social Services, in a statement.

Even after the revisions are in effect, “California will remain one of the most restrictive states in the country,” added Dee Dee Myers, senior adviser to Gov. Gavin Newsom and director of the governor’s office for business and economic development, added in a phone call with reporters.

“We will continue to move forward very slowly and cautiously, but with some transparency towards more permissible activity,” she said.

Under new state leadership unveiled on Friday, events and live indoor performances would remain banned in the Purple Level – the most restrictive rung of California’s color-coded reopening roadmap.

But they could take place from April 15 in the other three levels, subject to capacity limits and other requirements, such as purchasing tickets in advance, with organizers establishing designated areas for eating and drinking. , and that entry be limited to residents of California.

For rooms that can accommodate up to 1,500 people, the new rules will be:

  • In the red level, the second strictest in the state, attendance would be limited to 10% of capacity or 100 people – although this could increase to 25% if all guests are tested for coronavirus or show evidence that they have been fully vaccinated.
  • In the next step of the ladder, the orange level, the capacity cap would be 15% or 200 people, and would increase to 35% if all guests are tested or fully immunized.
  • The maximum capacity would increase to 25% or 300 people in the least restrictive yellow level and could reach 50% if everyone was tested or fully vaccinated.

For larger capacity sites, testing or proof of vaccination would be required and attendance would be limited to 20% of capacity in the red level. The threshold would be 10% or 2,000 people in the orange level – and could increase to 35% if all participants are tested or show proof of full vaccination.

The cap is also set at 10% or 2,000 people in the yellow tier, although it may increase to 50% if all guests are tested or fully immunized.

Sites may also choose to separate people into sections based on their immunization status. Those who are fully vaccinated can sit side by side, but they still need to wear masks, said public health official Dr Tomás Aragón.

Aragón said that first people will need to bring their vaccination cards with them. But “we anticipate that in the future the solution will be digital,” meaning people could potentially show proof of vaccination on their mobile phones.

Myers said she believed that “allowing some of these activities and opportunities for people who have been vaccinated is an incentive – and we want to get people to get vaccinated and get it as soon as they can so they can resume. some of their favorite activities. ”

To date, 32% of Californians have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to data from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, only about 16.8% of the state’s population has been fully immunized.

State officials also unveiled new guidance on private events, rallies and meetings on Friday.

From April 15, outdoor gatherings of up to 25 people are allowed in the red level, with the maximum size increasing to 50 people in the orange level and 100 people in the yellow level.

In the purple level, outdoor gatherings are limited to three households.

Although state officials strongly discourage indoor gatherings, such events are permitted with changes in non-purple levels.

Private events – such as receptions or conferences – are allowed outside only in the purple level, with attendance limited to 25 people. If everyone is tested or fully vaccinated, attendance can increase to up to 100 people.

“At all levels, changes are needed to reduce the risk,” according to a statement from the California Department of Public Health. “This includes pre-purchased tickets or a set guest list and assigned seats. ”

Here are the rules for events in other levels:

  • Red Level: Outdoor gatherings are limited to 50 people, increasing to 200 if all guests are tested or vaccinated. Indoor activities are permitted, with participation limited to 100 people, if everyone is tested or shows full proof of vaccination.
  • Orange level: outdoor gatherings are limited to 100 people. The limit is increased to 300 and indoor activities of up to 150 people are allowed, with full testing and vaccination.
  • Yellow Level: Outdoor gatherings for up to 200 people can be held, increasing to 400 if all guests are tested or fully immunized. Indoor activities would be permitted with participation limited to 200 people if everyone is tested or vaccinated.

Friday’s announcement was California’s latest move to ease COVID-19 restrictions as cases and hospitalizations plummet.

More and more parts of California – including Orange and Los Angeles counties – are seeing their coronavirus indicators improve to the point that they can reopen businesses and other public spaces more widely.

Los Angeles and Orange counties were allowed to upgrade to orange this week.

With this move, a multitude of places, including restaurants, bars, retail stores, museums and places of worship, can increase their business. The relaxed rules took effect in Orange County on Wednesday, as soon as it was authorized, but LA County officials said they had retained until Monday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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