California Loosens Some Covid Restrictions Based On Vaccination Status

On the same day that the federal government loosened restrictions for fully-vaccinated travelers in the U.S., the nation’s most-populous state also modified some Covid-19 guidelines based on vaccination status.

Fully-vaccinated Americans no longer need to test before or after travel, nor do they need to quarantine after arrival according to the new federal guidelines. California aligned, for the most part, with those strictures, but will still ask all travelers to get tested 1-3 days before travel. Quarantine is only required if that test is positive.

California on Friday also issued new guidelines allowing for a resumption of attendance at indoor concerts, sporting events, theater performances and conferences. Starting April 15, restrictions on capacity will be lightened based on counties’ placement in the economic-recovery tier system. Los Angeles County is currently in the Orange tier of the state’s reopening plan.

For the first time in the state’s battle against Covid-19, reopening restrictions at live events will also be impacted by the vaccination status of those present.

For instance, in the Red tier larger venues that would not otherwise be open will now be allowed to open at 20% capacity “if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.” In the Orange tier, the allowance is 10% capacity or 2000 attendees, whatever is fewer. Unless, that is, guests are tested or provide proof of vaccination. In that case, the percentage of capacity allowed more than triples to 35%, with no numerical limit. In the Yellow tier, the normal allowance is still 10% or 2,000. But with vaccination and testing, the permissible attendance rises to 50%

For a venue like Staples Center with a 20,000-person capacity, vaccinations and testing could turn 2,000 attendees into 10,000. That’s quite a difference in revenue — and in a fan’s experience at a concert or Laker game. For details, see the chart below.

Los Angeles County Health officials, when asked about the changes, said the region would release a new travel order on Monday; local officials can be more strict than the state, but not more lenient. The county was more vague about the live event permissions.

“We try to be in line as much as possible, where it makes sense,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, L.A. County’s Health Officer. “In terms of live events, there are still some outstanding questions that we need to get the details on before we can fully align.”

The Lakers issued a statement late Friday, saying the team is “incredibly excited that the state of California announced guidelines today that will allow Lakers fans to return to Staples Center.”

“Now that we have the guidance, we will work with LA County Public Health and Staples Center to finalize our plans to have fans safely attend our games starting with the Lakers vs. Celtics game on April 15,” according to the team.

The Clippers posted a short message on the team’s Twitter page saying, “Can’t wait to see you, #ClipperNation.” The message included a photo saying limited tickets will be available for home games starting April 18.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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