The tourism industry which plays such a big part in the economies of Anaheim, Garden Grove and other Orange County cities got a big boost on Friday as state health officials unveiled new rules that will allow Disneyland and other theme parks – as well as major league baseball parks such as Angel Stadium – to reopen by April 1.
That’s roughly one year after the rising coronavirus pandemic shut them all down.
The condition, for local operations, is that Orange County move out of the “purple” or widespread tier into the less restrictive “red,” or substantial tier. The most recent assessment had the OC very close to accomplishing that.
Once the county goes “red,” amusement park venues will be able to open at 15 percent capacity. Moving to “orange” (moderate) will allow 25 percent capacity, and “yellow” (minimal) would permit 35 percent, according to Reuters news service. “Red” baseball parks would be allowed 20 percent capacity.
Masks and social distancing would still be required, and attendance at Disneyland, Knott’s Farm, etc. would be limited to residents of California.
Any loosening of restrictions would be welcome not only for the operators of amusements and sports venues as well as hotels, but also local government leaders. Revenue from the “bed tax” paid by guests staying at the Hyatts and Hiltons, etc. represent a large chunk of municipal finances, especially in Anaheim and Garden Grove.
News: Coronavirus relief bill inches ahead
You probably never heard of Joe Manchin, but for the time being he’s the most powerful man in Washington. A conservative Democrat from heavily-red West Virginia, he has been able to shape President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill by threatening to cross the aisle.
The “American Rescue Plan” has already passed the House of Representatives, where the Democrats have a small majority. But in the Senate, the parties are deadlocked 50-50. Vice President Kamala Harris could break a tie, but if Manchin voted with Republicans against the bill, it would almost certainly lose by 51-49.
Manchin on Friday was able to win a compromise that would trim extra unemployment benefits from $400 to $300 and cut them off on Sept. 6, instead of a month later.
The deal now makes the passage of the bill likely, according to the Associated Press.
Sports: Lakers, Clippers stagger into break
For much of the 2020-2021 season, the NBA was a Hollywood production. The two local teams, the Lakers and the Clippers, looked like the best teams in the league, and certainly the top talent in the Western Conference and the Pacific Division.
However, injuries and other factors have turned Staples Center into a nice place to visit in recent weeks for visiting teams.
On Thursday, the Clips lost 119-117 to the Washington Wizards for their third consecutive loss. LAC is now 24-14, which puts the team in fourth place in the conference and third in the division. The Lakers aren’t doing much better, having lost seven of their last 10 games to see their record fall to 24-13. That’s good for third in the conference and second in the Pacific Division.
That’s how things stand at the All-Star Break. The game will be played Sunday, and perhaps after that the local teams will be able to start the second half the way they began the first.
Business: Wall Street bounced back
After three days of retreats, the stock market rebounded Friday with strong performances by all three major indexes. The Dow Jones Average jumped 572.16 points to 31,486.30. The S&P 500 rose by 73.47 points to 3,481.94, and Nasdaq posted an increase of 196.68 points to 12,920.15.
The impetus for the turnaround appears to be a strong jobs report. The U.S. Department of Labor said that employers added 379,000 jobs in February and that the unemployment rate declined nationally from 6.3 to 6.2 percent.
Before the pandemic, the jobless rate was at 3.5 percent. In the depths of the recession cause by the virus, unemployment exceeded 14 percent.
Weather: Play it cool, real cool
The West Orange County area should see cooler temperatures as we head into the weekend. The forecast for Saturday is sunny with a high of 68 (low of 51 overnight). But clouds will roll in and temperatures will drop starting on Sunday (high of 64, low of 52. Monday will be partly cloudy (63/46) and Tuesday similar (62/47). However rain is due next Wednesday and Thursday.
Categories: The Wider World