State Loosens COVID Rules to Allow for Indoor Events, Performances

April 2, 2021 Updated: April 5, 2021

LOS ANGELES—In a major advancement in the state’s COVID-19 economic recovery, California health officials announced changes April 2 that will allow a resumption of indoor activities such as concerts, conferences and theater performances—and a return of fans to indoor sporting events.

The rules, however, include strict capacity mandates based on counties’ tier placement within the state’s economic-reopening blueprint, along with requirements for attendees to show proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 tests.

The new rules will take effect April 15—subject to the approval of local health authorities, who are permitted in each county to impose stricter regulations than the state allows.

“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,” according to a statement from Dr. Mark Ghaly, the state’s Health and Human Services secretary. “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.”

Orange County is currently in the state’s orange reopening tier, which means outdoor gatherings can be 100 people or up to 300 with vaccination or testing, while indoor activities are permitted for 150
people with vaccination or testing.

In the least-restrictive yellow tier, outdoor gatherings are allowed up to 200 people, or 400 with vaccination or testing, and indoor events can accommodate up to 200 people, with vaccination or testing of all attendees.

For indoor live events and performances, which state officials said includes sports arenas, theaters and other event venues, such events are banned in counties in the restrictive purple tier, but permitted in other tiers, with varying capacities, advance ticket purchases, physical distancing, designated eating/drinking areas and in-state guests only.

For venues with a capacity of up to 1,500 people, in the orange tier capacity is limited to 15 percent or 200 people, increasing to 35 percent if all guests are tested or vaccinated.

For venues in the orange tier with capacity of 1,501 or higher, capacity is limited to 10 percent or 2,000 people, increasing to 35 percent if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.