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San Diego County would see stricter reopenings with move to purple tier

Virus Outbreak California Salon
Posted at 4:38 PM, Nov 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-10 02:25:49-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — This week, San Diego County will learn whether its coronavirus case rate forces the region to move into California's restrictive purple tier of reopening.

If the county is forced to move into the most restrictive tier, several business types will have to enact more stringent capacity limits or move operations outdoors only:

  • Retail stores at 25% capacity indoors,
  • Restaurants can have outdoor dining only,
  • Shopping centers at 25% capacity with closed common areas and a closed food court,
  • Personal care businesses can have outdoor operations after working indoors with modifications.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums can operate outdoors only,
  • Places of worship and movie theaters can be outdoors only,
  • Gyms and fitness centers can operate outdoors only

Last month, California moved personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo parlors, and skin care services, into the same category as hair salons and barbershops. These businesses can operate indoors with modifications in any tier.

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Last week, county public health officials reported an unadjusted case rate of 8.7 cases per 100,000 people, and an adjusted 7.4 case rate. County spokesman Michael Workman said if the region does fall into the purple tier, the new restrictions would take effect 12:01 a.m. Saturday.

This time, however, they would not be accompanied by an additional round of federal stimulus money to help small businesses make it through.

"It's sustainable for a few months at time, but if you start talking about 12 to 18 months of this you're going to see hundreds and hundreds of restaurants and bars go out of business," said Steve Billings, owner of North Park's Original 40 Brewing Company.

Ben Clevenger, President of the San Diego County chapter of the California Restaurant Association, says they are writing a letter asking local and state officials for a one-week extension in hopes the COVID-19 metrics improve.

As for their members, he says it's up for each restaurant owner to decide what to do.

"We keep advising them to do safe social distancing, safe operation practices," Clevenger said. "But at the end of the day, it's up to them, the individual businesses, whether to they're going to stay open or close and follow the guidelines. I think right now, there's a lot of restaurants in survival mode, and they don't have a choice but to stay open and hope for the best."

The purple tier also requires a case rate of 7.0 or more and testing positivity of 8% or more. The county's testing positivity has largely sat at 3% to 3.5% for the last four weeks, which falls within the positivity metric for the orange tier of reopening.

If the county falls into the purple tier, it will have to meet red tier criteria for two consecutive weeks before it can move forward, according to the state.