SAN JOSE (BCN/CBS SF) — Both Santa Clara and Marin counties moved into the state’s orange tier of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, allowing them to expand indoor capacities for some businesses and reopen bars outdoors.

Those two counties and San Francisco join San Mateo County as the only Bay Area counties to proceed into the orange tier since the state’s stay-at-home order was lifted in January.

Santa Clara County Health Officer Sara Cody said the decline in new cases and move to a new tier is reason to celebrate, she still remains cautious.

“Some really good news is our case count continues to decline, very significantly since peaking in January,” she told the county board of supervisors in a Tuesday afternoon zoom call. “But now that decline is beginning to slow. We should take a moment to celebrate and feel good about the safety we have created for each other and that we are able to ease some restrictions.”

“But marry that celebratory mood with caution because while the decline is still a decline, we beginning to see sifgns that we are stalling out and it’s becoming quite flat. The way to keep our case rates declining as everybody knows is to really accelerate the vaccinations, particularly in communities that have had the highest rates of COVID since the inception of the epidemic.”

COVID Reopening Tier map 3-23

The tier change from red to orange will allow each county to increase indoor capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent for sectors like places of worship, movie theaters and restaurants while gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to raise capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent.

Orange is the most restrictive tier in which bars can operate under any circumstance. A move to the yellow tier allows a county to resume indoor operations at bars at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, according to the California Department of Public Health.

In addition, business sectors like family entertainment centers, cardrooms, offices and wineries will be allowed to resume indoor operations after being limited to opening outdoors or being closed altogether in the red and purple tiers.

On April 1, counties in the orange tier can allow 33 percent capacity crowds at outdoor professional sporting events and 25 percent capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer, at amusement parks.

Guests at outdoor arenas must be state residents while amusement park guests must live in the same county as the venue.

Details on which businesses can operate in the orange tier and at what capacity can be found at

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