LA, Orange counties could move to orange tier soon, letting restaurants, churches expand capacity

ANAHEIM, Calif. (KABC) -- With vaccine distribution on the rise, Los Angeles and Orange counties are getting closer to entering the state's less-restrictive orange tier any day now.

That means even more people will be able to venture out to places like Disneyland, the OC Fair and Angel Stadium and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Under the orange tier, restaurants, movie theaters and churches will also be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%. Gyms would be able to expand to 25% capacity.

Retail would jump from 50% to no limit, and bars that don't serve food would finally get to open.

Orange County could quality for the next tier in the state's reopening framework by Tuesday, making the move on Wednesday. L.A. County, meanwhile, is on track to advance out of the red tier as early as Friday.

"The vaccine rollout has been accelerating so quickly lately, that as long as there's no variant that gets around it, I think hopefully fingers crossed, things will keep opening more and more up," said Jeremy Carney of Coto De Caza.

Earlier this month, Orange County jumped from the most-restrictive purple tier to red as cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations dropped around the region.

The county is preparing to open another super POD - point of distribution - vaccine site at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa Wednesday, a day before eligibility statewide opens up to people ages 50 and up.

The extra site will be needed even more when eligibility opens up to people 16 and older on April 15.

"Our hope is that in the next few weeks, we see much more supply not only here in Anaheim, but across Orange County that will help us vaccinate those large numbers that we're looking at over the next few weeks," said Mike Lyster, spokesman for the city of Anaheim.

Anaheim continues to host vaccine sites at Disneyland and the Convention Center, helping Orange County administer over 1.4 million doses to date. That number includes vaccines given at hospitals, pharmacies, and the smaller mobile clinics.

"The smaller PODs like this try to reach out to the pockets that are hard to reach," said Doug Chaffee, an Orange County supervisor.

On top of all the major steps being taken this week, baseball returns to Angel Stadium Thursday with a limited number of fans.

"I'm excited," said Katlyn McCormick of Victorville. "I'm ready for everything to start opening up and somewhat go back to normal."
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