The theme parks at Disneyland Resort have been closed since last March, and are expected to remain closed throughout this March.
But, many stores and restaurants in Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort have reopened, and a special ticketed event will soon be coming to Disney California Adventure Park. Still, because the county where Disneyland is located is within a specific reopening tier, stores and restaurants have certain capacity and other restrictions. And those restrictions can’t be lessened until the county reaches a lower tier. Soon counties may be able to move into a lower tier easier. This would allow those counties to loosen select restrictions.
In California, counties are placed in specific “tiers” based on a number of factors including their rate of COVID-19 infections and testing positivity rates. Currently, Orange County — where Disneyland is located — is in the purple tier. That means amusement parks must be closed, restaurants can only open outdoors with modifications (or they can open for take-out or delivery with modifications), and retailers are limited to a maximum of 25% capacity.
In order to move to other tiers, a county’s numbers must drop to certain levels. As Deadline reports, to advance to the next lowest tier — the red tier — a county’s “rate of daily new COVID cases has to drop to…7 per 100,000 residents, and the testing positivity rate must fall below 8%.” But, some of that might be changing soon.
According to Deadline, California Governor Gavin Newsom has announced a new plan that could help counties get to lower tiers a bit easier and start to loosen more restrictions. First, Newsom has indicated that the state will also be setting aside 40% of its vaccine doses for “hard-hit communities, generally those that are lower income and have had higher infection rates and lower numbers of residents getting vaccinated.”
In terms of the rules regarding tiers — the California guidelines now indicate that counties in the purple tier will be able to move to the red tier with a daily rate of new COVID-19 cases of 10 per 100,000 rather than 7 per 100,000. But, that shift won’t happen until 2 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed to hard-hit communities in the state. The state has already delivered 1.6 million vaccine doses to those communities, so this shift could come in the next few weeks.
There are also separate shifts that will be made in terms of the case rate ranges for the tiers once the state administers 4 million vaccine doses.
So far, the Governor has indicated that over 9.5 million California residents have received doses of the vaccine. Additionally, Newsom recently noted that the current rate for people testing positive for COVID-19 in the state has dropped to 2.2%. Governor Newsom has indicated that by incorporating vaccination rates into the tiering people will be able “to move more quickly through the tiers.”
But, Newsom has also indicated that the pandemic is not over, and it’s too early for people to stop social distancing or wearing masks, particularly when you take into account the potential risks associated with the COVID-19 variants.
We’ll continue to keep an eye out for what this change could mean as the situation develops in Orange County and other places in California. Stay tuned for more updates.