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Orange Tier: Amusement Parks May Reopen, Professional Sports Can Welcome Back Fans

Today, the Emergency Operations Center County of Santa Clara announced that the County will move into the Orange Tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, meaning fewer COVID-19-related restrictions.

The greatest differences include increases in indoor capacity and new reopenings like amusement parks. Additionally, professional sports stadiums can now host fans outdoors. These changes take effect Wednesday, March 24.

Under the Orange Tier, gyms and other fitness centers can increase their indoor capacity to 25 percent capacity, it used to be 10 percent in the Red Tier. Restaurants can increase their indoor dining capacity to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is lower — this used to be 25 percent. Places of worship can also increase indoor worship to 50 percent capacity, it used to be 25 percent.

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Offices of non-essential businesses can open indoors with modifications; however, the County still encourages working remotely.

Professional sports with permanent venues can welcome live audiences but outdoors only. The capacity limit is 20 percent. Only regional attendees can come — those within 120 miles. Reservations are required and there has to be assigned seating. Only in-seat concessions are allowed — no concourse sales. Also, smaller amusement parks and theme parks can open at 25 percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer. Only outdoor attractions can be open and only in-county visitors can go. Reservations or advance tickets are required. 

Aquariums, zoos, and museums can open indoors with 50 percent capacity, it used to be 25 percent. Bowling alleys and other family entertainment centers can open indoors at 25 percent capacity. Cardrooms can also open at 25 percent capacity. Movie theaters can increase capacity to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Retailers can now fully reopen indoors — they used to have a 50 percent capacity under the Red Tier.

There are no changes to small private gatherings. The restrictions remain the same: small gatherings can be held indoors with no more than three separate households. Social distancing and masks are required. Singing, shouting, chanting, cheering, or exercising strongly discouraged outdoors and not permitted indoors.

Learn more about what’s open on the State’s website: https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.  The County didn’t place any additional restrictions on top of the ones outlined by the State. In the past, the County has been stricter, but in the new year, has followed the State’s lead.

Santa Clara County moved into the Red Tier just at the beginning of the month, making this the second tier change in March.

“Advancement to the Orange Tier reflects the patience and persistence of the whole community in Santa Clara County. To continue to prevent cases and resultant hospitalizations and deaths, we must continue to wear masks, social distance, stay outdoors as much as possible, and get vaccinated when it’s our turn,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Health Officer and Director of Public Health for the County of Santa Clara. “We are close to a significant increase in vaccine supplies, but until those doses are in arms, we must protect each other against another surge.”

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