Long Beach to allow customers inside at restaurants, theaters and gyms starting Monday

Long Beach will officially move into the state’s less-restrictive “red tier” of coronavirus rules this weekend after the state achieved a milestone set by the governor of 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in hard-hit communities.

The vaccine threshold means the state eased requirements for counties across the state to escape the toughest “purple tier” of coronavirus rules. This is the first time Los Angeles County has been out of the purple tier since it was established.

Long Beach is counted with LA County on these metrics, but since the city has its own health department it can devise its own rules for businesses, as long as they are not less restrictive than what the state allows.

On Friday, the city released a detailed list of what will be allowed beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday. The full order is available here.

  • Restaurants: Customers will now be allowed to dine indoors at local eateries, so long as they don’t exceed 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Tables will be situated at least 8 feet apart, and parties no larger than six people will be allowed at any given table. Servers are strongly urged to get vaccinated if they haven’t already. The city is encouraging people to dine with people only in their immediate household, although the state guidance allows for up to three households to dine together.
  • Live entertainment at restaurants: Live entertainment, like bands, will be allowed indoors and outdoors at restaurants. If they’re outdoors, performers must wear masks and keep 6 feet distance—or 12 feet distance if they are not wearing masks. If they’re indoors, performers must wear masks at all times and maintain 24 feet of distance from spectators along with 12 feet distance from other performers.
  • Breweries, wineries and distilleries: If these facilities serve food, they fall under the same requirements as restaurants. Breweries and wineries may open outdoors but guests must remain seated at tables and must be limited to 90 minutes. Reservations are required. Service for on-site consumption must close by 8 p.m. Bars and pubs must remain closed.
  • Movie theaters: Movie theaters can operate at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less, with required safety precautions, including seating by reservation only.
  • Fitness gyms: These facilities can open indoors at 10% capacity, with required masking. Outdoor operations of gyms and fitness facilities are still strongly encouraged. Climbing walls may reopen. One-on-one personal training, with no more than a total of one trainer and one client at a time per business, is also allowed.
  • Museums, botanical gardens and aquariums: These facilities, including the Aquarium of the Pacific, can open indoors at 25% of capacity.
  • Retail shopping: retail stores, including indoor shopping malls, can increase indoor capacity to 50%.
  • Personal care services: Businesses such as nail and hair salons can now increase capacity to 50%, from 25% that is currently allowed.
  • Places of worship: may open indoors with modifications, including maximum 25% capacity. Outdoor services and cultural ceremonies are strongly recommended.
  • Outdoor live events (sports and live performances): These events may resume beginning April 1 with capacity limited to 20% of maximum occupancy and limited to those in-state. Venues must implement a weekly worker testing program and other modifications in accordance with state guidance. Indoor live events remain prohibited.
  • Private gatherings: Gatherings are now permitted indoors with face coverings but are strongly discouraged. Gatherings are limited to three households and no more than 15 people total. Fully vaccinated people may gather indoors in private settings only, without face coverings, with other fully vaccinated people and/or with people who are at low risk for severe COVID-19 disease.
  • Schools: Local school districts and private schools will be allowed to open in-person education for grades 7-12. Long Beach currently has a plan in place to open elementary schools on March 29, and April 20 for middle schools. A reopening for high schools has been set for April 19 for seniors and April 26 for grades 9 through 11.
  • Weddings and funerals: Wedding ceremonies and funerals will now be allowed outdoors or indoors, with capacity limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less. No food or beverages are allowed, and people must remain masked and distanced.

Los Angeles County also released its new rules, beginning Monday, this week. They are similar to Long Beach’s.

Moving to the red tier will also allow the reopening of theme parks as early as April 1—including Disneyland in Orange County and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles County—at 15% of capacity, with in-state visitors only.

Once the state administers 4 million shots in hard-hit neighborhoods of the state, officials say they will update criteria for moving into the next tiers of orange and yellow, which allow for even more capacity in various businesses.

In order to move to the orange tier, the county must be in the red tier for a minimum of three weeks and maintain orange tier numbers for two consecutive weeks. That would include a case rate of one to 3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, a 2% to 4.9% positivity rate and a 2.2% to 5.2% health equity metric.

As of Friday, March 12, there have been 51,600 COVID-19 cases in Long Beach, and 882 people have died from the virus.

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