(CBS SF) — Contra Costa, Napa and Sonoma counties will all move to California’s less restrictive Orange Tier Wednesday morning, according to state health officials.
The state announced its updated tier assignments on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy website late Tuesday morning, right around when health officials said that — based on vaccine distribution and a continuing decline in new hospitalizations — all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted statewide on June 15.
The less restrictive Orange Tier guidance will go into effect at 12:01 AM on Wednesday, April 7, for those three counties and 13 others in the state, including Monterey County.
Only Solano County in the Bay Area remains in the Red Tier.
Health officials in Contra Costa County said the county currently has a COVID case-rate of 4.9 cases per 100,000 people and an overall testing-rate positivity of 1.8%, slightly higher than the statewide positivity rate of 1.6%. The health equity metric currently stands at 3% for the county.
COVID-related hospitalizations are down to their lowest point since October. Officials said it has been five months since the last time Contra Costa qualified for the Orange Tier.
Meanwhile, nearly 500,000 county residents are at least partially vaccinated. Contra Costa County opened up vaccinations to all residents and people working in the county 16 and over last week, earlier than anywhere else in the state.
“This is great news for our community,” said Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors chair Diane Burgis. “The last few months have been difficult for everyone and it’s nice to see us make more progress in the fight against COVID.”
Contra Costa Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano said people should not let down their guard yet. He noted that case rates have plateaued recently, suggesting a slowdown in the recovery.
“We are still in a pandemic and people should continue to act accordingly: Keep wearing masks in public and get vaccinated as soon as you can. I still strongly recommend people to avoid most indoor activities with people outside of their own household until they are fully vaccinated,” said Farnitano.
Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase also advised residents to continue following the public health guidance that has helped the county quell its positivity rate down to 1.6 percent.
“We should all feel good about our progress against COVID-19,” Mase said. “We also want to move safely through the orange tier and not lose ground. Even as more of us are getting vaccinated each day, it is crucial to be aware of the surges happening in other parts of the country and avoid outbreaks here.”
The three counties will be able to reopen or expanding capacity for a number of business sectors starting Wednesday, April 7:
- Amusement parks: Overall park capacity and indoor capacity will be limited to 25%, including indoor dining.
- Bars: Outdoors with modifications; no meals required to be served
- Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries: Indoors at 25% maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; no meals required to be served
- Family entertainment centers: Indoors for naturally distanced activities like bowling, escape rooms, and billiards; 25% maximum capacity
- Gyms, fitness centers and studios (including at hotels): 25% maximum capacity and indoor pools are permitted; Indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms continue to be closed
- Movie Theaters: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer encouraged
- Outdoor sports and live performances with fans/attendees: Up to 33% and with advanced reservations only. Concession sales will be primarily in-seat (no concourse sales). Designated indoor seated dining area capacity will be limited to 25%. Attendance will be limited to in-state spectators and guests must attest their reserved seats are only for one household.
- Places of worship: 50% maximum capacity
- Restaurants: 50% maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
- Retail: Open indoors with modifications and food courts permitted with indoor dining restrictions
Community members are reminded that COVID-19 is still present and that residents should continue to take protective measures such as wearing a face covering, washing your hands frequently and keeping a minimum of 6 feet of distance from those outside your household, even if you have been vaccinated.
Outdoor gatherings of no more than three households are allowed under the Orange Tier. Indoor gatherings are still strongly discouraged.
The counties will have to remain in the Orange Tier for at least three weeks before moving into the next, less restrictive yellow tier, officials said.