Another big step toward reopening the economy is taking place this month, beginning the same day that vaccine eligibility opens up to all Californians ages 16 and up. State health officials announced Friday that indoor concerts, theater performances, and sports arenas will be allowed to reopen April 15 with restrictions — and capacities will be tied to how many attendees are vaccinated or show a negative COVID test.
"As we continue to expand vaccine distribution, California is poised for a safe and equitable recovery," said Dee Dee Myers, the director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development who was formerly a Los Angeles film exec. "We will continue to work with businesses, arts organizations, community groups and others to open carefully, with health and safety top of mind, so that we never have to go backwards."
As Deadline reports, "Purple" tier counties will continue not to be allowed to hold indoor events like concerts, basketball games, or theater shows. But in the "Red" and "Orange" tiers, there will be allowances made as more of the state gets vaccinated — much the way Israel has been allowing such events for those with a vaccine "passport."
For all venues, advance ticket sales will be required, and only in-state guests will be permitted. Also, no eating or drinking will be allowed in seats, and masks have to stay on.
For medium-sized venues with capacities up to 1,500 people, the rules are as follows: In the "Red" tier capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, but capacity increases to 25% if the venue requires all guests to show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID test. In the "Orange" tier, it's a 15% capacity limit or 200 people, and capacity increases to 35% with proof of COVID negativity or immunity. In the "Yellow" tier, it goes up to 25% or 300 people, or 50% with vaccinations or negative tests.
For larger venues with capacities over 1,500, it's a flat 20% capacity limit in the "Red" tier with testing or vaccinations required; but in the "Orange" tier, venues can host guests at 10% capacity without vaccinations or tests, or up to 35% with them. (See charts below.)
Additionally, as the Chronicle reports, Myers spoke of the state doing away with the color-tiered system altogether in the not-too-distant future — but first there will be the introduction of a "Green" tier in which most activities are freely allowed.
"We said we would reopen the economy as soon as it was safe to do so," Myers said during Friday's briefing.
This is all great news for music venues and theaters across the Bay, which can start to think about scheduling programming and bringing in revenue again. Most or all of the Bay Area is expected to be in the "Orange" tier as of next Tuesday, and San Francisco may enter the "Yellow" tier on April 13.
And this means that Warriors fans may get to go back to the Chase Center in just two weeks.