Yellow tier status doesn’t mean more L.A. fans in stands

1620178325 Yellow tier status doesnt mean more LA fans in stands

Businesses all over are undoubtedly rejoicing at the news Tuesday that Los Angeles County has moved into the least-restrictive yellow tier of California’s COVID-19 reopening system. However, major sports teams aren’t promising significantly higher attendance soon, even though more fans would produce more revenue.

The reason? The six-foot distancing requirements between seating groups that haven’t shown proof of vaccination.

The Dodgers have no immediate plans to increase attendance, spokesman Jon Chapper said. They could not sell even to the 33% of capacity allowed under the orange tier because of distancing requirements. The Dodgers introduced fully vaccinated sections that require no social distancing to about 500 fans at their last homestand and plan to increase the number to 1,000 fans when they return home May 11.

The Lakers and Clippers sold tickets to 2,000 to 3,000 fans per game at Staples Center under orange tier guidelines. Neither team is optimistic that they could increase attendance to 50% of Staples Center’s 19,068 capacity under the yellow tier because of distancing restrictions. Both teams are working on creating fully vaccinated sections but must gain approval from the county and the NBA.

Teams could ask local public health authorities to reevaluate the six-foot distancing requirement. The Dodgers’ triple-A Oklahoma City affiliate said Tuesday it would open its season at 50% of capacity, with public health authorities there approving a three-foot distance between seating groups.

Orange County remains in the orange tier, and the Angels have no immediate plans to increase capacity from one-third (about 15,000 seats) even if the county moves to the yellow tier. Like everyone else, the Angels are awaiting more guidance to see whether they will be able to expand capacity after June 15, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s tentative target date for fully re-opening the state.

Southern California NFL and college football teams haven’t announced their attendance plans for the fall yet. The Rams declined to comment Tuesday. The team has said since the pandemic began that it would follow state and local guidelines.

Staff writers Bill Shaikin, Jack Harris, Andrew Greif, Dan Woike and Gary Klein contributed to this report.

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