After a long and draining year of being quarantined, Los Angeles County is finally on the path to open up. With people everywhere starting to get vaccinated, and places like Disneyland, and the LA Zoo opening up, we will hopefully be back to some sort of normal soon. While this is just the beginning and we have a long way to go, many plans are being set to get back out.
The reopening phases are divided into two tiers: orange and red. Having started on April 5th, we’ve already moved out of the red and entered the orange tier. The orange tier allows for indoor dining, outdoor bar service, and the opening of gyms, movie theaters, zoo’s, aquariums, and museums. With indoor dining, zoos, and aquariums, the maximum capacity is set to 50%, and fitness services are set to 25% with masks on at all times. On April 5th, Senator Gavin Newsom announced that California would move into a plan to fully reopen on June 15th.
After reopening for the second time, the LA Zoo is up and running once again. The rules are the most basic ones — masks must be kept on at all times, the capacity is limited, and hand sanitization centers have been installed across the zoo. Indoor/enclosed exhibits remain closed, along with areas with high contact like the Carousel and Muriel's Petting Zoo. Zoo staff encourage visitors to stay “one zebra apart” from each other. The Aquarium Of the Pacific is open again as well, following similar protocols.
Along with the LA Zoo, after a long wait, Disneyland is opening again. Only California residents are able to attend, with groups no larger than three households. The Disneyland hotel services will remain closed, along with its resort services. The opening schedule went as follows:
Now Open, since July 2020 – Downtown Disney District
April 29, 2021 – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa
April 30, 2021 – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park
Similarly to the zoo, Disney is following safety protocols, including staying six feet away from other guests, hand sanitization areas, the requiring of face coverings, and temperature screenings. Reduced contact purchases/services, like cashless transactions, modified housekeeping, and convenient check-ins have also been implemented.
The infamous Hollywood Bowl is scheduled to reopen as well, with shows scheduled for as early as July. It will open with a limited capacity of 4,000 occupants, with four free concerts for healthcare workers, first responders, and essential workers.
Along with mass reopenings, people across the country are continuing to be vaccinated every day. With about 6 million vaccinations as of April 16th and the new availability for children ages 12-15, Mayor Garcetti hopes to be back to normal soon. Los Angeles Unified School District is also returning to in-person learning, with some students coming back to school for hybrid learning as of April 26th.
However, many LA Officials have been met with opposition surrounding their plans. Many citizens believe that re-opening is too soon, and are vocal about wanting to ease into it like other places have done. In September of 2020, LAUSD was sued by nine parents for having an irresponsible plan for returning to school. Even going so far as to hold a rally, parents across Los Angeles protested a return to school, claiming it was too soon and unsafe. They believe sending young kids back to school with such a difficult schedule isn’t good, and wanted to wait longer until these strict protocols were no longer in place.
While Senator Newsom’s plans for a state-wide reopening soon, it is important to remember that Covid-19 is still very real, and very serious. After being in this pandemic for over a year now, I’m sure we’re all a bit tired. While vaccinations for younger children aren’t available yet, if you’re 12 or older, you’re eligible. So, keep wearing your mask, socially distancing, and if you’re eligible, get vaccinated!