The happiest place on Earth might be even happier than expected when it reopens in April.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that the state is on track to meet its goal of vaccinating 2 million Californians in underprivileged communities. This step, according to a recent order from the state, triggers an easing of requirements to move from the more restrictive purple levels of the governor’s reopening plan to minus. Additionally, Newsom announced last week that the theme parks could reopen – at very limited capacity – on April 1.
It won’t matter in Orange County, however. Officials there say they are on track to reach the red level by March 17, possibly March 17. “We expect Orange County to open the red level in the coming week,” said Frank Kim, CEO of Orange County.
Los Angeles and Orange Counties may reopen movie theaters and theme parks this weekend, Newsom announces
Dr Clayton Chau, director of health and director of the Orange County Health Care Agency, told reporters on Wednesday that the health department ‘expects to have two weeks in the red level on Tuesday and Wednesday we will have an official entry. in the red level.
The county deserves credit for having already met the red level parameters for a week, and if the region continues to do so from Sunday, it will be eligible for graduation up to the red level. (California requires counties to be in a new tier for two consecutive weeks before they can implement that tier’s reopening protocols.) Tier announcements are made on Tuesday.
The lower level thresholds triggered by meeting Newsom’s inoculation program target, however, will help Orange County move up to Orange even sooner than expected, Kim said.
This counts for county parks like Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. In the red tier, they can reopen at 15% capacity, with no meals inside or outside state guests. Indoor capacity is also capped at 15%.
But in the orange level, the parks go to 25% of their capacity, a 2/3 increase in attendance which will likely be music to the ears of residents locked inside for a year. Indoor capacity is also 25% in orange, according to the most recent California Ranking Table.
Chau agreed with Kim’s prediction, but noted that once Orange County reaches the red level, it will have to stay put for at least three weeks.
“It will be easier for us to go to the orange level,” said Chau. Although the county numbers may qualify them before, Chau said, “The earliest possible to enter the orange level will be after the first week of April.” This is because counties must stay in one level for 3 weeks before moving to another.
This early April window is important because Disney CEO Bob Chapek said this week that Disneyland will reopen “at the end of April.” If this is the case and the prognoses of Orange County officials hold true, the park will be able to reopen not at 15% of its capacity, but at 25%.
The county’s test positivity rate fell from 3.9% to 3.2% last Tuesday, and the adjusted case rate per 100,000 people over a seven-day average with a seven-day lag fell from 7, 6 to 6. The rate for the county’s health equity quartile, which measures positivity in hotspots in underprivileged communities, fell from 4.9% last week to 4.1%.
The county is in the red level with case rates per 100,000 and in the orange level for positivity rates. To reach the red level, the county must have a case rate per 100,000 population of 4 to 7, a positivity rate of 5% to 8%, and a health equity quartile rate of 5.3% to 8. %. To get to orange, the case rate must be less than 4 per 100,000.
The red level allows many other businesses and organizations to reopen. For example, retail stores could allow half of their capacity instead of 25%, and museums, zoos and aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25% of capacity, as could cinemas, gymnasiums and the restaurants.
City News Service contributed to this report.