SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sports, theater and music fans will be able to take their seats again in California as the state’s coronavirus cases plummet and vaccinations jump.
After a year-long ban on most indoor seating, the state Friday set the stage for a literal stage-setting that could see resumption of NBA games and live entertainment performances in most counties beginning April 15.
Most of the state’s 58 counties will be permitted to allow at least some indoor seating because they fall into the lower three levels of California’s four-tiered COVID-19 restriction plan. Big population centers like San Francisco, Santa Clara County and Los Angeles County are in the second-least restrictive orange tier. Only three counties — San Joaquin, Merced and Inyo — remain in the highest purple tier, indicating “widespread” COVID-19 risk.
The others will be permitted some indoor seating “with capacity limits and modifications including physical distancing, advance ticket purchases, designated areas for eating and drinking, and attendance limited to in-state visitors,” according to a state public health announcement.
In the red tier, venues of up to 1,500 people can operate at 10% capacity and grow to 25% if all guests provide evidence of vaccination or a negative test. Venues of 1,501 people or more can operate at 20% capacity in the red tier, but guests must show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Capacity increases for tiers where the virus is less widespread.
State officials won’t require testing or proof of vaccination for some of those events. Events that do require testing and vaccinations will be allowed to have more paying customers than those that don’t. Only people who live in California can attend these live performances.
The Los Angeles Lakers announced that fans will be allowed back into Staples Center for an April 15 game against the Boston Celtics.
“Obviously we don’t know exactly how many fans will be there yet, but just having some in there will bring us great energy,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “It’s one of everybody’s favorite things to do is go to Lakers games, and they haven’t been able to do that during this pandemic.”
Ben Bleiman, a San Francisco nightlife activist and chairman of the California Music and Culture Association, said venues need full capacity to make any money — but members will take the change, albeit with trepidation.
“On the one side you have the thrill and the joy of reopening,” he said, adding on the other, “there’s some dread that something’s going to go wrong.”
California has been easing COVID-19 restrictions as it recovers from a deadly winter surge, although public health officials still urge people to follow social distancing and mask-wearing protocols. Rates of hospitalizations and deaths have plunged, and the rate of people testing positive for the virus is at a near-record low.
California’s rules are different for private indoor gatherings, including weddings, meetings or conferences. Those are only to be allowed if all guests test negative for the coronavirus at least 72 hours in advance or show proof of full vaccination. The changes do not mention requiring proof of vaccination and put much of the enforcement on business owners and operators.
“Allowing some of these activities and opportunities to vaccinated individuals is an incentive,” said Dee Dee Myers, director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “If they can return to some of their favorite activities because they’re vaccinated, then hopefully a few more people will go and get vaccinated.”
The new rules seem to nudge California toward a system of vaccine verification, a hotly debated issue across the country. New York has launched a digital pass residents can use to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that is accepted at major entertainment venues. But Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order on Friday banning businesses from requiring so-called “vaccine passports.”
President Joe Biden’s administration has said the federal government won’t come up with a national vaccine passport app, leaving that to the private sector. But the federal government is devising regulations for how and when those passports can be used.
California Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón said Friday the state will follow the federal government’s lead but said vaccinations won’t be required for essential services.
California’s new rules come as the state has administered nearly 19 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines. Nearly 6.9 million people are fully vaccinated in a state with close to 40 million residents. Only people 50 and over are eligible statewide to get the vaccine now, followed by those 16 and older on April 15.
Air Partner launches Tour Protect for music and entertainment industry
Air Partner’s Tour Protect offers the advanced safety solutions needed to mitigate risk, safeguard all VIP charter flights and ensure a smooth travel experience at each stop along the tour
Diversified private jet services provider Air Partner has announced the launch of Tour Protect. It’s described as “the first COVID-19 travel protection program for complex world tours.”
As the music and entertainment industries begin to plan to tour again, Tour Protect offers the advanced safety solutions needed for today’s age in travel to mitigate risk, safeguard all VIP charter flights and ensure a smooth travel experience at each stop along the tour.
The Tour Protect add-on charter program delivers a new industry solution to music and entertainment companies. It comes as they begin to plan their tours. The plan provides the most advanced safety measures including, enhanced COVID-19 protocols, evacuation planning, security detail, and 24/7 health and medical support.
Air Partner Tour Protect
Air Partner’s Tour Protect add-on program includes:
- Enhanced COVID-19 Safety Protocols: Guarantee all aircraft and crew comply with recommended COVID-19 procedures, including deep cleaning of aircraft, advanced crew training, access to ground transportation that has been safely vetted, and access to COVID-19 testing and vaccination validation screenings.
- Quick-Response Evacuation Planning: Governments trust Air Partner for its evacuation planning services. Tour Protect provides this same protection level to ensure the fastest solution for any evacuation needs related to COVID-19 or other emergencies that may arise.
- 24/7 Medical Support: In partnership with Northcott Global Solutions, Tour Protect includes 24/7 access to medical support for individuals and groups, along with access to a network of highly trained medical personnel who can deploy on short notice to assist with any needs.
- Security Screening: Air Partner works closely with airports, airlines, suppliers, and cargo agents globally to ensure that necessary security is in place, offering solutions that meet the requirements set out by international regulations and compliance. This includes advanced security screening through rapid deployment of security teams and equipment and added security for high-profile clients. Credentialing and badge IDs are available for all passengers, including crew, entourage, and additional personnel.
“With so many considerations going into the production of live events, Tour Protect is designed to alleviate clientele of concerns and provide reliable air transportation to take them where they need to be and back on schedule,” said David McCown, President of Air Partner, Americas.
He added, “Air Partner’s global network of resources, and 60 years of experience in the private aviation space, allows our team to manage these tours with the highest degree of care and service. Our ability to swiftly pivot, robust level of security capabilities, and experience coordinating campaign tours during COVID-19, allows our team to be an ideal resource to entertainment and music companies as they take flight again.”
Paramount+ Launches Today With Live Sports, Breaking News, And Entertainment | SEAT42F
Paramount+, the highly anticipated streaming service from ViacomCBS, launched today with an unparalleled content offering that bundles live sports, breaking news, and an expansive collection of exclusive new originals, hit series, marquee franchises and popular movies. Featuring more than 30,000 episodes and countless films from ViacomCBS’ family of world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel, Paramount+ is home to premium entertainment for the whole family.
“The launch of Paramount+, which builds on ourlegacy of innovation and superior storytelling, is a significant milestone for ViacomCBS that demonstrates our commitment to being a global leader in streaming,” said Tom Ryan, President and Chief Executive Officer, ViacomCBS Streaming. “By combining fresh original content with live and on-demand programming and an established library of titles from world-class entertainment brands, we have created an unrivaled service that offers live sports, breaking news and entertainment for all audiences.”
Premiering today with the launch of the service is a slate of new originals, including The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run, the first-ever all CGI SpongeBob motion picture event; Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Under Years, a prequel series and the first-ever spinoff of SpongeBob SquarePants; MTV Documentary Films 76 Days, the Oscar Shortlisted documentary that looks at life in the earliest days of the COVID-19 crisis in Wuhan, China; For Heaven’s Sake, a docuseries blending comedy and crime for a unique take on uncovering the truth; The Real World Homecoming: New York, a reunion special with the original New York cast in the iconic NYC loft; 60 Minutes+, a new form of the flagship series that reveals the stories behind the news through original reporting and captivating interviews; and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning out the News, the second season of the animated daily news satire series.
These titles join a growing slate of originals currently on the service exclusively, including The Good Fight, Why Women Kill, The Stand, Star Trek: Lower Decks, No Activity, Coyote and more.
Coming this Spring to Paramount+ is an extensive lineup of live sports including every UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League match, culminating with the UEFA Champions League Final on May 29;coverage of the 2021 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, featuring all of CBS’s games throughout the tournament highlighted by the National Championship game and Final Four with first-round coverage beginning on March 19; and CBS Sports’ coverage of The Masters.
The Paramount+ slate will also continue to expand with 36 exclusive originals coming to the service in 2021, including the following titles that will debut this spring: Rugrats, an all-new series featuring Nick’s iconic babies, back together with the original voice cast and an all-new CG animation style; No Activity, a half-hour police comedy that will transition from live action to animated for season four; and Behind the Music, the groundbreaking and prolific music documentary series returns with several new episodes and the best of the vault remastered. Beginning late spring, the Paramount+ film library will grow to over 2,500 titles including recent hits from Paramount Pictures, such as Bumblebee, Crawl, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Gemini Man, Like a Boss, Pet Sematary, Playing with Fire, Rocketman and Sonic the Hedgehog, as well as popular movies from MGM, such as Bill & Ted Face the Music, Skyfall, The Addams Family, Child’s Play and Valley Girl.
The reimagined service, built on the strong foundation of CBS All Access, features live linear programming, plus a deep and growing content portfolio that spans the best in scripted dramas, kids and family, sports, news, documentaries, comedy, music and reality. Starting today, subscribers can stream:
How to Stream
Paramount+ has two pricing tiers available to U.S. subscribers that marry the best of live and on-demand programming. The premium tier, at $9.99, is available now and combines live sports, including NFL games, soccer and more; breaking news through CBSN; CBS’ live linear feed; and commercial free, on-demand entertainment options spanning Paramount+ originals to the full suite of current and library shows and movies with 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision and mobile downloads. In June, Paramount+ will introduce a new ad-supported tier, at $4.99, that offers live NFL games, news and entertainment, but no longer includes local live CBS station programming. A $5.99 ad-supported tier, which includes live CBS programming, is available until June at which point only the $4.99 and $9.99 tiers will be offered to new subscribers.
All Paramount+ subscribers will have access to a seamless user interface, enhanced curation and discovery, cross-platform dynamic play functionality, personalized homepages, content categories and central hubs for ViacomCBS’ brands. Additionally, each subscription option will include parental control capabilities and up to 6 individual profiles.
Consumers can subscribe to Paramount+ online at ParamountPlus.com; via the Paramount+ app for iOS and Android; and across a wide number of platforms, including smart TVs, connected-TV devices, online, mobile, gaming consoles, and leading OTT providers. Paramount+ will also be distributed on major platforms in local markets internationally. The new Paramount+ app will begin rolling out across platforms today. For more details on Paramount+, please visit ParamountPlus.com.
ViacomCBS will bring Paramount+ to international markets with initial debuts in 18 Latin American countries and Canada today; the Nordics on March 25, 2021; and Australia with a rebrand and expansion of 10 All Access later this year.
With production capabilities across five continents, strong distribution agreements and local relationships and expertise around the world, Paramount+ will leverage ViacomCBS’ leading global reach — including the largest global broadcast footprint — to drive streaming growth and international expansion. ViacomCBS Networks International (VCNI) will build on its momentum in prized formats, and as one of the top global producers of Spanish-language content, to bring exclusive series to market for fans of kids and family, scripted dramas, reality and more. Subscription prices will vary by market, but Paramount+ will be available to international audiences at a compelling price point.
Paramount+, a direct-to-consumer digital subscription video on-demand and live streaming service from ViacomCBS, combines live sports, breaking news, and a mountain of entertainment. The premium streaming service features an expansive library of original series, hit shows and popular movies across every genre from world-renowned brands and production studios, including BET, CBS, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Paramount Pictures and the Smithsonian Channel. The service is also the streaming home to unmatched sports programming, including every CBS Sports event, from golf to football to basketball and more, plus exclusive streaming rights for major sports properties, including some of the world’s biggest and most popular soccer leagues. Paramount+ also enables subscribers to stream local CBS stations live across the U.S. in addition to the ability to stream ViacomCBS Streaming’s other live channels: CBSN for 24/7 news, CBS Sports HQ for sports news and analysis, and ET Live for entertainment coverage.
For more information about Paramount+, please visit www.paramountplus.com and follow @ParamountPlus on social platforms.
ViacomCBS (NASDAQ: VIAC; VIACA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic consumer brands, its portfolio includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry’s most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, ViacomCBS provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions for partners on five continents.
Evercade VS – A New Home Gaming Console From Blaze Entertainment
On April 23, 2021, Blaze Entertainment announced their newest console, called Evercade VS. What is the console? Well, this console is a home-based 1080p Evercade system with up to four players supported.
Evercade VS is set for release on November 3, 2021 starting at $99.99 USD. There are multiple options that will be available for purchase. These order configurations include:
Starter Pack 1 Game (TBA) and 1 Controller
Premium Pack: 2 Games (TBA) and 2 Controllers
Special Edition color scheme (TBA)
One of the interesting facts about the console is the dual cartridge slot, which allows for more games to be selectable at a given moment. Evercade VS uses existing Evercade cartridges, which will feature over 280 games by the end of 2021. Save stages are saved directly to the cartridge, so they can be swapped between consoles.
The console will feature a brand-new user interface as well as new resolution options, including “Pixel Perfect” option. There is also built-in Wi-Fi to enable a hassle-free user interface and game updates. At this time, there are no plans for online gameplay.
The console comes with a new controller, but non-Evercade controllers and wireless adapters are supported. Even the handheld Evercade can be used as a controller, but it requires an additional link cable, which is sold separately.
Let’s talk about the cartridges being “subject to license” for a moment. According to the press release, “The Namco Museum collections are by contract Handheld exclusives and are available in Europe only. Therefore those two cartridges will not be compatible with the Evercade VS.” Hopefully this will change because I have routinely said that Namco Museum 2 is the reason to buy the handheld console:
· Brutally honest opinions on Evercade: https://youtu.be/TY7OVpZiUVI
· Review of Namco Museum 2: https://youtu.be/L9CCjztYpeg
The Evercade VS is the first consolized version of the existing handheld ecosystem, and the price is reasonable. I am a bit disappointed because the Namco collections are not currently licensed for this console, but that will hopefully change. I like the controllers and design of the console. It reminds me of the Nintendo Entertainment System’s design. Would I buy one for myself; well that remains to be seen.I bought my handheld unit last year and it supports HDMI out.
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