California to allow indoor gatherings as virus cases plummet

West

FILE – In this Nov. 12, 2020, file photo, Mitchell Bryant, left, and Darla Scott eat inside at the Buena Vista Cafe during the coronavirus outbreak in San Francisco. San Francisco is poised to allow indoor dining, movie theaters and gyms with reduced capacity as the rate of coronavirus cases and deaths improve, allowing more of California’s economy throughout the state to open back up for business. It’s unclear which activities might open when. Mayor London Breed is scheduled to provide an update at the tourist-friendly Pier 39 in Fisherman’s Wharf Tuesday, March 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California will allow indoor concerts, theater performances and other private gatherings starting April 15.

The California Department of Public Health announced the changes on Friday as the rate of people testing positive for the virus nears a record low. It’s a sharp turnaround from the slow pace California has taken on lifting restrictions, and comes as the governor urges people to continue being vigilant about wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

To attend, people will have to either be tested or show proof of full vaccination. How many people can attend gatherings will depend on the level of restrictions in place in each county. The state divides counties into four tiers based on how widespread the virus is in those places.

The purple tier is most restrictive. Indoor concerts and theater performances aren’t allowed in this tier. They are allowed in the red tier, but at 10% capacity for venues of up to 1,500 people and 20% capacity for venues with capacity greater than that. Capacity limits increase in the lower tiers.

Private events, including receptions or conferences, are allowed only outdoors in the purple tier and will be limited to 25 people. They’re allowed indoors in the red tier, but limited to 50 people. However, that capacity increases to 200 people if all guests are tested or show full proof of vaccination.

“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,” California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said. “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.”

Trademark and Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

© 1998 - 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. | All Rights Reserved.

Trending on NewsNationNow.com