Alameda County to move into orange tier of state reopening system

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Lisi Ludwig/Senior Staff
Given a decline in COVID-19 cases, California has declared that Alameda County is cleared to move into the orange tier of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, effective Wednesday. Moving into the orange tier will allow certain businesses such as movie theaters and museums to open at 50% capacity.

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With COVID-19 case rates and hospitalizations continuing to fall and California ramping up its vaccination efforts, the state announced Tuesday that Alameda County has been cleared to enter the orange tier of the state’s reopening system.

The California Department of Public Health updated the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, allowing Alameda County to enter the less restrictive category in the system. Effective Wednesday, the county will move from the red tier to the orange tier.

As of press time, Alameda County’s adjusted daily case rate is 2.6 per 100,000 residents with a testing positivity rate of 1.1%, according to a press release from the Alameda County Health Care Services Agency. Additionally, the current healthy equity quartile positivity rate is 1.9%.

“Our metrics have improved, but this pandemic is not yet in our rear-view mirror,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County health officer, in the press 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.”

While metrics may change, the county is required to remain in the orange tier for at least three weeks before moving into a less restrictive tier, according to the press release.

Moving into the orange tier now allows for certain businesses and activities to reopen with capacity restrictions and modifications, according to the press release. Bars will be able to open for outdoor services, and breweries, distilleries and wineries will be allowed to open at 25% capacity indoors. Meals will not be required to be served at these businesses.

Other businesses that are permitted to reopen at 25% capacity indoors include family entertainment centers, fitness centers and aquatic centers, the press release added. Movie theaters, museums, zoos, aquariums, restaurants and places of worship will be able to open at 50% capacity.

However, the press release noted that while offices are allowed to be open indoors with modifications, remote work is “strongly encouraged.” Additionally, retail businesses and food courts may open indoors with modifications and indoor dining restrictions.

In addition to business reopenings, activities that are eligible to start Thursday include outdoor sports and live performances with attendees at 33% capacity and with advanced reservations, according to the press release. Amusement parks will also be able to open at 25% capacity, and small groups with a maximum of three households may attend together. The press release noted that both activities will be limited to in-state individuals.

“The key to keeping newly permitted activities open and moving Alameda County closer to the Yellow Tier is to continue practicing the safety measures we know work against COVID-19: wearing masks whenever we leave home (even if fully vaccinated), watching our distance, washing our hands frequently, and limiting mixing with people from different households,” Moss said in the press release. “When it is your turn, get vaccinated with the first vaccine made available to you.”

Thao Nguyen is the city news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @tnguyen_dc.