The Public Health Department of California announced changes in the coronavirus restrictions policy on Friday. It has been declared that the restrictions are being eased up in less than two weeks as indoor activities such as concerts, theatre performances, and other public events will be allowed beginning from 15 April.
The decision was made in light of the record low positivity ratio in the state. The governor sees this as huge progress in returning life to normalcy, but experts are concerned this is too quick of a change.
Such practices will not be, however, permitted in counties considered to be in the purple — or most serious — tier of COVID-19 danger, according to an online news release issued on Friday.
According to the release, the events will be permitted with certain limitations including the number of people who can attend the event, social distancing, beforehand ticket sales, specific areas for food corners, participation restricted to in-state guests in areas specified in red, orange, and yellow tiers.
The precise guidelines depend on the size of the location, with the option to raise the crowd numbers if every visitor is tested or shows evidence of complete vaccination.
The venues that can host 1500 people or less will be allowed to host at 10% capacity. The venues with the ability to host more than 1500 people will be allowed to host at 20% capacity. Areas in lower tiers will face higher restrictions.
All events will take place with stringent COVID protocols set in place. To attend an event, an individual must provide a negative COVID test and/or a full vaccination report. The local authorities are also allowed to impose more intense restrictions if deemed needed.
The imminent relaxation of controls comes after months of rigid adherence to intensive procedures in California during the longstanding pandemic. The decision came only days after permitting the cinema halls to resume operations in L.A, hopefully marking the return of the film industry to normalcy.
The public received the announcement with different reactions. Some people believe that the government is trying to control what people are allowed to do and not. Some are relieved to be finally allowed to attend public events again. Anti-maskers are bashing the decision for its requirement to wear a mask at all costs to attend an event.
Health experts fear the rise in cases if the set COVID protocols are not strictly followed in social gatherings in upcoming days. They believe that the ignorance of a few people can cost the lives of many.