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COVID: California Allows For Some Fans At Ballparks, Limited Capacity At Amusement Parks April 1

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – California public health officials announced Friday that fan attendance at outdoor stadiums and performances would be allowed to take place with capacity restrictions starting in April, along with the opening of amusement parks.

The changes allow for in-person attendance at games and live performances even in counties that are under the Purple Tier. Mask wearing would remain mandatory.

"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," California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said.

The new guidance comes just two days after Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed that state officials were in talks with Major League Baseball and local health officials in bringing fans back to ballparks.

"We have confidence, that when you look forward to April, Opening Day, where we are likely to be, if we all do our job. If we all do our job and we don't let down our guard and spike the ball, wrong sport, but you get the point, then I have all the confidence in the world fans will be back safely in a lot of those outdoor venues," Newsom said at a briefing on Wednesday.

Under the changes, fans at sports and live performances can begin April 1, with capacity limited to 100 and regional visitors under the Purple Tier. Capacity increases to 20% in the Red Tier, 33% in the Orange Tier and 67% in the Yellow Tier, with attendance limited to in-state visitors. Concessions would not be allowed under the Purple Tier, but in-seat concession sales are allowed in the other tiers.

Not long after the announcement, both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's issued statements celebrating the return of fans to ballparks, following a 2020 baseball season where cardboard cutouts of fans replaced live spectators in the stands.

"We are excited to safely welcome fans back to our ballpark for the upcoming season," said A's team president Dave Kaval. Opening Day for the A's is scheduled for April 1 against the Houston Astros at the Oakland Coliseum, which is currently being used as a mass vaccination site.

The Giants, who are scheduled to play their first home games the following week, said, "Given than San Francisco is currently operating in the red tier and conditions are steadily improving, we are hopeful that we can welcome a limited number of fans back to Oracle Park beginning with our home opener on April 9."

Both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics have pages on their respective websites that outline COVID safety protocols for when fans return to Oracle Park and the Oakland Coliseum.

Amusement parks will also be allowed to open April 1 in counties that are in the Red, Orange or Yellow Tier. Capacity under the Red Tier would be capped at 15%, 25% in the Orange Tier and 35% in the Yellow Tier. Attendance to theme parks would also be limited to visitors from within California.

Earlier this year, California's Great America theme park in Santa Clara announced an opening date of May 22. It was not immediately known if the opening date would change following the state's announcement.

Six Flags, which operates Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo said they welcomed the state's announcement. A park spokesperson said that they have been hosting visitors since July for the Marine World Experience, which features the park's animals.

A reopening date of the park's rides is expected in the near future, the spokesperson said.

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