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Outdoor Sports Stadiums, Theme Parks Not Reopening in Santa Clara County

Last week, Santa Clara County moved into the Orange Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy and reopened many sectors. Today, the State announced guidelines that would allow outdoor professional sports stadiums and small theme parks in Santa Clara County to reopen. However, this is not currently allowed under the County’s Risk Reduction Order.

The stricter of the orders must be followed and Santa Clara County currently doesn’t allow any spectators at sporting events. Santa Clara County’s Public Health Department released the following statement:

“Audiences at professional sporting events will not be allowed anytime soon in Santa Clara County, and theme parks will not resume operation. We must all continue to prioritize reducing the spread of COVID-19, creating conditions that will allow our businesses, schools, and other community organizations to operate safely. As we see COVID-19 rates rising in states across the U.S., and as we enter the winter months when risk will increase, we cannot take chances with the health and wellbeing of our community and forfeit the many sacrifices that have been made to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

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Dr. Mark Ghaly, the State’s Secretary of Health and Human Services Agency, announced the new guidance this afternoon that changes a lot in a large state like California with many professional sports teams, especially during the NFL season, and also many theme parks. In Santa Clara County, would have affected outdoor stadiums such as Levi’s Stadium, home of the 49ers.

The 49ers released a statement acknowledging that they can only welcome back fans with the County’s blessing.

“We appreciate Governor Newsom’s leadership and thoughtful approach in creating a framework that allows for a return of fans to Levi’s Stadium, and restart the economic activity of the region,” said the statement. “We welcome our fans and their support of local businesses and vendors that are critical to our local economy, especially during these difficult times. Our organization will continue to collaborate with local public health officials to implement a plan that protects the health and wellness of all San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium employees, patrons, and our community.”

If and when the County decides to allow professional sporting events at outdoor stadiums, these are the State’s restrictions:

  • May resume in Orange Tier at 20 percent and in Yellow Tier at 25 percent
  • Ticket sales restricted to customers within 120-mile radius
  • Advance ticket sales and assigned seats, no day of or will-call ticket sales
  • Eating and drinking in assigned seats only
  • Face coverings are mandatory throughout the stadium unless eating or drinking
  • Tailgating prohibited however parking at stadium is required

Noticeably, the State is trying to avoid mixing between regions by not allowing ticket sales outside of a 120-mile radius. Read the County’s current rules regarding spectators at sporting events on its website.

Local theme parks, like California’s Great America, which is considered a large theme park, would be able to reopen when Santa Clara County reaches Yellow Tier and with the County’s say. These are the State’s rules for theme parks once they’re allowed to open:

Smaller theme parks may resume operations in Orange Tier:

  • Limited capacity of 25 percent or 500, whichever is fewer
  • May only open outdoor attractions
  • Ticket sales limited to visitors in the same county

All theme parks may resume operations in Yellow Tier with limited capacity of 25 percent.

Great America said in August that it will remain closed for the rest of 2020.

The County has a history of being stricter than the State in many respects. The County will be holding a press conference today at 3 p.m.

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