California, which was once considered a COVID-19 hot spot, is preparing to bring back indoor concerts.
State officials announced the big move in a press release Friday, about a year after California started banning large-scale, in-person events in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The state’s Department of Public Health said that beginning April 15, indoor concerts, performances, and other large gatherings—both public and private—can resume with a number of limitations.
Attendees will have to be tested or provide proof of their full vaccination before attending such gatherings. Capacity restrictions will vary county to county, depending where they fall on California’s reopening tier system, which uses color codes to indicate the level of restrictions in each region. Counties are divided into purple, red, orange, and yellow tiers, based on how widespread the virus is among their populations. Purple is the most restrictive, and yellow is the least restrictive.
Per the Department of Public Health’s website:
Venues with a capacity of up to 1,500 people: In the Red Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 100 people, and capacity increases to 25% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Orange Tier, capacity is limited to 15% or 200 people, and capacity increases to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Yellow Tier capacity in limited to 25% or 300 people, and capacity increases to 50% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
Venues with a capacity of 1,501 and above: In the Red Tier testing or proof of vaccination is required, and capacity is limited to 20%. In the Orange Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, and capacity increases to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination. In the Yellow Tier capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, and capacity increases to 50% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
The announcement comes as California’s positivity rates inch toward a record low. The Associated Press reports about 6.9 million Californians were fully vaccinated as of Friday. The state, which has a population of nearly 40 million, is only administering vaccines to people 50 and older. Resident 16 and older will be eligible to receive their doses beginning on April 15.
“Today’s update to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy is a result of the progress we are making both in vaccinations and in controlling the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “By following public health guidelines such as wearing masks and getting vaccinated when eligible, we can resume additional activities as we take steps to reduce risk.”
“As we continue to expand vaccine distribution, California is poised for a safe and equitable recovery,” said Dee Dee Myers, Senior Advisor to Governor Newsom and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “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.”