SAN DIEGO (KGTV) —California public health officials announced Friday that it has hit its goal of two million vaccinations to residents in the state's most vulnerable communities, triggering new guidance that allows purple tier counties to move up to the red tier sooner.
The adjustment to California's tier-system will allow purple counties to reopen more outdoor and some indoor activities sooner, and avoid having to reach the traditional seven case rate per 100,000 people threshold for the red tier. Purple-tier counties will only need to hit a case rate of 10 or lower.
Starting Sunday, March 14, the state says 13 counties will be in the less restrictive red tier, including Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties.
San Diego County and 12 other counties are expected to move into the red tier on Tuesday, the state added, and that adjustment will take effect on Wednesday, March 17.
As of Friday, San Diego County had reported one week under the 10 case rate metric, with a case rate of 8.8 from Feb. 21 to 27.
County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said earlier this week that there is "a high probability and likelihood that by next Wednesday we will descend into that [red] tier ... We obviously have to wait and see what our numbers are next Tuesday, but we feel confident that that will happen."
Once in the red tier, restrictions on outdoor and some indoor operations would ease, including:
- Retail at 50% capacity
- Movie theaters, museums, zoos, and aquariums at 25% capacity indoors (or 100 people for movie theaters)
- Gyms and fitness centers at 10% capacity indoors
- Restaurants at 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer) indoors
- Shopping malls with 50% capacity indoors, but closed common areas and reduced food court capacity
Being in the red tier also loosens restrictions around theme parks and stadiums starting April 1:
- Theme and amusement parks: 15% capacity once the county hits the red tier. Attendance limited to California residents. Groups must be a maximum of 10 people or three households with no intermixing will be allowed. Indoor capacity at 15% with time restrictions and weekly worker testing. Tickets can only be purchased online as well.
- Stadiums and live events: Capacity will be capped at 100 people or fewer in the purple tier and 20% in red tier counties starting April 1, this includes suites with 25% occupancy per suite and suites with no more than three households. In-seat concessions.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has said the state will continue to set aside 40% of vaccines for residents in zip codes identified as most vulnerable to the spread of the virus.
After four million vaccines administered to these communities, the minimum case rate needed for the red tier would increase from four to six per 100,000 people.