California Modifies Reopening Plan To Pave Way For Return Of Live Sports & Concerts In San Diego County

March 5, 2021

California officials today announced modifications to the state's reopening plan that will allow outdoor venues and theme parks to reopen with safety modifications and limited capacity as early as April 1.  These changes pave the way for the return of live sports and concerts in San Diego. 

Provided San Diego County can get to the state's 2nd most restrictive red tier, the San Diego Padres will be permitted to host fans at live games at 20% capacity on opening day, Thursday, April 1. Concessions will be required to be primarily in-seat sales. The capacity limit will rise to 33% for counties in the orange tier and 67% for those in the yellow. Live performances will also be allowed to resume with reduced attendance at outdoor venues like North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre in Chula Vista, which already has several concerts scheduled starting this June. If San Diego is still in the strictest purple tier, outdoor venues will still be able to host a greatly limited attendance of 100 people or fewer with advanced reservations require and no concessions or concourse sales.  

We previously reported that San Diego Padres officials were leading a brigade of California's Major League Baseball teams in negotiating with the governor's office and local public health officials on a proposal that would allow all 5 state teams to operate at limited capacity at the start of the 2021 season. It appears their efforts were successful. 

"California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible," said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency, in a news release issued on March 5. "Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”  

Amusement parks, like Belmont Park, Legoland, and SeaWorld, will also be allowed to reopen at 15% capacity with restrictions on rides. For amusement parks, the attendance cap rises to 25% once a county is moved to the orange tier and 35% upon reaching the most lenient yellow tier. Attendance at theme parks, sporting events and concerts will be limited to California residents, and there will be additional prohibitions on indoor dining and limits on indoor rides at amusement parks. 

San Diego County has been in the state's most restrictive purple tier of COVID-19 restrictions since November 14, 2020. It is speculated that due to improving coronavirus statistics that San Diego will be moved into the less-restrictive red tier of California’s four-category reopening roadmap in the next week or two. As has been the case since the start of statewide restrictions last March, even when a county meets the state’s threshold to loosen prohibitions, each county can impose stricter limits than authorized by the state.