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Newsom: California may hit threshold to ease purple tier restrictions in San Diego, other counties by Friday

Posted: 2:30 PM, Mar 10, 2021
Updated: 2021-03-11 18:38:30-05
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SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego County and several other Southern California areas could see coronavirus-related business restrictions ease soon and move into the red tier within the next week.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday that the state would likely hit its vaccine equity goal by Friday, which would change the threshold for counties to move from the purple to red tier from 7 cases per 100,000 people to 10 cases per 100,000 people.

As of Tuesday, San Diego County had a case rate of 8.8, but the county's testing positivity rate (3.3%) and health equity testing positivity rate (4.5%) are within the threshold for the orange tier.

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"Southern California you will be a beneficiary of this, specifically LA will be a big beneficiary of this new metric, that likely will be met on Friday. And moving through the weekend into next week, you will see more activity and more loosening of the tiers," said Newsom.

County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said even if the county didn't hit the case rate needed for the red tier next week, the county's testing positivity and health equity positivity would be enough to move out of the purple.

"There's a high probability and likelihood that by next Wednesday we will descend into that tier," Fletcher said. "We obviously have to wait and see what our numbers are next Tuesday, but we feel confident that that will happen."

According to California's vaccine dashboard, the state has administered about 1,926,968 vaccine doses in its hardest-hit communities as identified by the Healthy Places Index. Once the state reaches 2 million doses administered in vulnerable communities, the tier readjustment will kick in for counties in the purple tier.

Credit: California Department of Public Health

California health officials have said the new vaccine equity threshold will not impact the next group of eligible recipients this Monday, March 15, which includes those 16 to 64 with high-risk conditions and disabilities.

Movement into the red tier means San Diego County will be able to reopen more outdoor and some indoor operations at businesses with modifications, 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

Theme parks and ballparks will also be allowed to reopen in the red tier, according to new state guidance released this week. That guidance allows the two industries to reopen with modifications 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.

Restrictions for theme parks and ballparks would ease as a county progresses through California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier system.

A full list of California's business reopening tiers can be seen below:

Credit: California Department of Public Health