OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Both Alameda County and Santa Cruz counties were able to move to the Orange Tier Tuesday according to the metrics of the state’s COVID Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Every county in California is assigned to a tier based on its positivity rate, adjusted case rate, and health equity metric that is tracked on the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy website. Counties must remain in a tier for at least 3 weeks before moving to a less restrictive tier. Counties must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks to move to a less restrictive tier.

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The new tier assignments will take effect on Wednesday.

California COVID Tier map for 3-30-2021 (COVID19.CA.gov)

According to a release issued by county health officials, Alameda County has an adjusted daily new case rate per 100,000 residents of 2.6, a testing positivity rate of 1.1 percent, and a health equity quartile positivity rate of 1.9 percent.

“Our metrics have improved, but this pandemic is not yet in our rear-view mirror,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in the release. “Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating in our county, case rates are rising in other parts of the country and, while nearly a quarter of Alameda County residents aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, we aren’t at the levels required for broad community protection or immunity.”

If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier.

The move means both Alameda and Santa Cruz counties will soon be allowing non-essential businesses to reopen offices at 25% capacity and indoor-dining capacity at restaurant can grow to 50%.

Additional activities and operations allowed in the Orange Tier include:

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  • bars can open outdoors without needing to serve food
  • retail, and museums may expand to 50% capacity
  • gyms, bowling alleys, and pool halls can operate indoors at 25% capacity
  • movie theaters can reopen to 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
  • places of worship can reopen to 50% maximum capacity

The timing is pivotal for the Oakland A’s with the team’s opening day on Thursday. Alameda County moving to the Orange Tier means fans could be allowed to return to the Coliseum at 33% capacity.

Other restrictions at the Coliseum include a limit on concession sales (primarily in-seat with no concourse sales allowed) and designated indoor seated dining area capacity will be limited to 25%. Attendance will also be limited to in-state spectators and guests must attest their reserved seats are only for one household.

On Monday, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk announced it would reopen select rides starting Thursday, April 1, the same day amusement parks in California are allowed to resume operations with limited capacity.

Staying in the Red Tier is a bit of a setback for Napa County. County officials and business owners were hoping to be able to reopen its wineries for indoor tastings.

Since the pandemic, most visitors to the valley have been from the Bay Area and Sacramento, but the region’s economy depends on tourists from out of state and around the world.

Hotels are starting to fill up on weekends, and there is hope that the eventual return to the orange tier in Napa County will bring more traffic during the week.

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Sonoma, Solano and Contra Costa counties are likely to stay in the red for at least another week.