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​California Public Health Officials Release Guidance & Updates to State's Blueprint for a Safe Economy

Date: October 20, 2020
Number: NR20-272

Experts cite California's slow and stringent Blueprint as a key reason our state has avoided the huge increases in COVID-19 transmissions that are occurring nationally

Theme Parks: Smaller facilities may resume outdoor operations and limited capacity in Tier 3 (Moderate/Orange), while larger parks may do so in Tier 4 (Minimal/Yellow)

Outdoor Stadiums: Live professional sporting events may operate with limited capacity in Tiers 3 and 4 only with pre-assigned tickets to ensure physical distancing of patrons and other modifications

New changes to personal care service sectors

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released new guidance and made updates to the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a central component of state's plan to fight COVID-19.

The Blueprint is built off of scientific understanding of the virus, how it is transmitted, and the prevalence of COVID-19 in each county. While the rest of the country is seeing major increases in COVID-19 transmissions, national health experts are pointing to the state's slow and stringent framework – along with the public's adherence to health guidance – as one reason California has yet to see a similar trend. The changes announced today fall in line with the state's approach.

"As parts of the world and much of this nation are experiencing another wave of COVID-19 cases, it’s more important than ever we take this disease seriously," said Dr. Erica Pan, Interim State Public Health Officer. “Our Blueprint for a Safer Economy is driven by science to keep the risk of COVID-19 transmission low in order to help keep Californians safe while allowing for a safer reopening of our activities. Our approach and pace intend to avoid the difficulties that result from repeatedly opening and shutting down economic activity and tries to balance the level of a myriad of activities and economic areas that are important to all of us. The most important things all Californians can do to reduce COVID-19 transmission are masking, keeping physical distance and avoiding mixing when possible.”

Theme Parks Guidance

This guidance applies to theme parks and amusement parks. Smaller theme parks (defined as parks with an overall capacity fewer than 15,000) may resume limited operations in Tier 3 (Moderate/Orange) with capacity limited to 25 percent or 500 people, whichever is fewer. Smaller parks operating in Tier 3 (Moderate/Orange) may only open outdoor attractions, and ticket sales must be limited to visitors residing in the same county as the park. All theme parks may resume operations in Tier 4 (Minimal/Yellow) at 25 percent capacity.

Theme parks must follow state guidance and take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Theme parks must be prepared for inspections by public health officials and are required to address any findings and implement any recommendations. Steps theme park operators must take to reduce COVID-19 transmission include: 

  • Implementing reservation ticketing systems and contacting guests 24 hours before arrival to confirm reservations and screen for symptoms. 
  • Implementing a reservation or virtual queuing system for individual attractions, if possible. All in-person queuing, or waiting in line for an attraction, must occur in outdoors settings only. 
  • Complying with Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings. The use of face coverings is mandatory throughout the park in all settings unless actively eating or drinking in designated dining areas.

Sporting Events at Outdoor Stadiums Guidance

This guidance applies to live professional sporting events at outdoor stadiums and racetracks. Outdoor operations may resume in Tier 3 (Moderate/Orange) with capacity limited to 20 percent and in Tier 4 (Yellow/Minimal) with capacity limited to 25 percent. Ticket sales must be limited to customers traveling within a 120-mile radius. This guidance applies only to professional sports and does not apply to youth or adult recreational, amateur, semi-pro, or collegiate sporting competitions. Outdoor stadium operators must take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission including:

  • Implementing advanced ticketing systems and pre-assigned seating to help maintain physical distance. Venues are not permitted to provide will-call or sell tickets on the day of the event to enable adequate planning for physical distancing within the venue.
  • Eating and drinking are permitted in assigned seats only. 
  • Prohibiting tailgating and similar activities that encourage mixing of different households in parking lots and other venue areas.
  • Discouraging guests from yelling, singing, booing and other similar actions.
  • Complying with Guidance on the Use of Face Coverings. The use of face coverings is mandatory throughout the stadium in all settings, unless actively eating or drinking in assigned seats. All non-participating athletes, coaches, and other support staff must wear face coverings at all times except when eating or drinking.

Local health officers may implement more stringent rules tailored to local conditions, so employers should also confirm relevant local opening policies.

Personal Care Services

Today, the state also updated the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow all personal care services to operate indoors with modifications. Based on further review of the evidence and the sector risk profiles, CDPH has determined that personal services businesses have a similar risk profile to hair and nail salons with respect to the transmission of COVID-19. For all of these sectors, CDPH has determined that the risk can be sufficiently mitigated with modifications to allow those services to resume indoor operations in Tier 1. The update applies to all counties, including those in Tier 1 (Widespread/Purple). Personal care services, including esthetic, skin care, electrology, body art professionals, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, and massage therapy, must follow existing state guidance to create a lower risk environment for employees and the public.

California will continue to update the Blueprint for a Safer Economy and issue guidance based on the best available public health data and known best practices. For more information about the Blueprint and what individuals can do to prevent the spread of COVID-19, visit

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