Sports fans got some rare good news last week. On Friday, March 5, the State of California revealed that starting April 1, Major League Baseball venues in California can start hosting a limited number attendees for the new season, even in counties in the Purple Tier, the most-restrictive COVID-19 regulatory tier, meaning fans of the World Series champion Dodgers will be able to attend the team’s first home game on April 9. But what does that mean for the COVID-19 vaccination super site at Dodger Stadium, one of the largest in the country?
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the parking lots around Dodger Stadium have served both as a COVID-19 testing site and, since January 15, a vaccination site operated by the City of Los Angeles. According to a spokesperson for Mayor Eric Garcetti, the initial reopening of Dodger Stadium to fans will not impact the vaccination site. A spokesman for the Dodgers confirmed that, and said that the organization is currently trying to finalize reopening plans.
Under current restrictions, if the stadium is able to host fans for games, it would only be about 100 total, which officials said would not impact the site at all. If Los Angeles County is able to drop from the state’s most restrictive Purple Tier to the Red Tier—which it is currently on pace to do ahead of the start of the MLB season due to a decline in the infection rate and more people being vaccinated—the space would be able to host 20 percent capacity, or approximately 11,200 fans (Dodger Stadium has 56,000 seats). The city and the Dodgers also do not see that affecting operations of the vaccination site.
The Dodger Stadium location is operated by the Los Angeles Fire Department and Sean Penn’s nonprofit CORE, and uses three of the 15 lots at the venue. Other lots would be used for guests. The City of Los Angeles currently operates seven permanent vaccine sites and eight mobile clinics. The County of Los Angeles also operates multiple vaccination spots, including one at the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park; if the county enters the Red Tier, the amusement park will be allowed to open to 15 percent capacity.
Since launching in January, the Dodger Stadium vaccination site has had to briefly shut down before, once due to protests and, in February, due to running out of doses. The scarcity and demand for vaccines has many places, Los Angeles County included, opening up vaccination appointments on a weekly basis as new doses come in.
The city sites are set to distribute 88,000 total doses this week, mostly first-dose shots, per the city. Currently more than 2,400,000 vaccine doses have been administered in the county, with at least 814,000 having received a second shot (the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine is a single-dose treatment).
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