California health officials said Friday that popular outdoor attractions like Disneyland, Dodger Stadium and the San Diego Zoo could reopen with limited capacity beginning April 1.
State health officials said amusement parks in counties hardest hit by Covid-19 would not be allowed to open, but other outdoor venues in those counties could allow up to 100 people.
California uses a tier system to regulate business re-openings and capacity, based on the Covid-19 positivity rate in each county. The most restrictive is purple, then red, orange and yellow, with the latter being the least restrictive.
Outdoor sports and live performance venues in the red tier could operate at 20 percent capacity and amusement parks at 15 percent. Those in orange tier counties could reopen at 25 percent capacity. Only in-state visitors would be allowed.
“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,” Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of health and human services, said in a statement.
The counties with California’s most well-known theme parks, Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego, were all in the most restrictive purple tier this week.
Still, a union representing Disneyland’s Orange County workers welcomed the news.
“Our Disney cast members are heartened by this good news today that the Disney parks will be reopening in a month,” said Andrea Zinder, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 324.
Ken Potrock, president of Disneyland Resort, said in a statement, “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 business and our entire community.”
He said the theme park in Anaheim looked forward to sharing an opening date “soon.”
Los Angeles Dodgers CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement that it hoped to announce details regarding “health and safety protocols for fans as well as a ticket policy for reduced capacity in the coming days.”
The San Diego Padres said the state’s announcement “creates a path to welcome our loyal and passionate fans back home to Petco Park for the 2021 season.”
Health officials said sports fans and concertgoers would have to make advanced ticket purchases or reservations and that concessions would be limited. Masks would continue to be mandatory.
Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.