Giant Dipper roller coaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (Tarmo Hannula/Staff)

CALIFORNIA — 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 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 recreation giant was the first theme park to reopen in California in November last year, 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, Monterey County could move to the red tier soon. As of Friday, however, the county remains in the most restrictive purple tier.

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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Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. He is a Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus.


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