California Coronavirus Update: Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Sacramento Allowed To Reopen Movie Theaters Further; December Comic-Con Plans “Inconsistent” With State Guidance


One day after California Governor Gavin Newsom teased that more of the state’s counties would be allowed to open further as cases fall, the specifics were revealed.

The state’s Director of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, reported that the counties of San Francisco, Amador and Calaveras would be allowed to move into the Orange — or Moderate — tier and Sacramento, Fresno, Santa Barbara, Butte, Contra Costa, San Joaquin and Yolo would be allowed to progress into the Red — or Substantial — tier. Those changes are effective as of 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

Under the Red tier: movie theaters and cultural ceremonies can operate at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; gyms can open indoors to 10% capacity; childcare, drive-in theaters, family entertainment centers and hotels can open with modifications. Concert venues and live theater and festivals are still prohibited to operate.

Under the Orange tier: movie theaters and restaurants can open to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer; bars, nail salons, childcare facilities, church services, day camps, doctors, family entertainment centers, gyms can open with modifications. Concert venues and live theater and festivals are still prohibited to operate.

Below is Newsom’s tweet outlining the tiers of reopening.

The state also announced on Tuesday that counties in ll coronavirus risk tiers can reopen playgrounds.

The idea, said Ghaly is to provide “more outlets for young people where the risk is low.”

“There have not been…any significant outbreaks linked to playgrounds,” he noted.

The new guidance does not include indoor playgrounds or family entertainment centers, which must remain closed. It does require that everyone 2 and older wear a face covering at outdoor playgrounds and that children remain under adult supervision to ensure masks are kept on.

When asked when guidance for theme parks would be released, Ghaly said, “We’re working hard to get that out in a responsible way as soon as possible. We’re working with those industries to put out something that’s thoughtful…to ensure those activities are done responsibly.”

“Guidance for convention centers should also be out soon.”

Asked specifically whether he had consulted about Comic-Con, which has begun selling tickets for an L.A. event in December, Ghaly responded: “No, as far as I know — and I not any of my staff certainly haven’t had any communication with the organizers of that event.”

He called the idea of planning an event like Comic-Con “inconsistent” with state guidance “and premature — in terms of a county like Los Angeles that’s in Purple — to think that far out now.”

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