San Francisco made a huge leap from the red tier to the less restrictive orange tier Tuesday, providing a pathway for more businesses and activities to reopen.
Mayor London Breed announced that with the new orange status, the city will move forward with indoor dining and places of worship at 25% capacity up to 100 people starting on Wednesday, Sept. 30. S.F. will also expand the capacity of outdoor places of worship, outdoor political demonstrations and indoor malls, and will reopen additional family entertainment, hotel fitness centers and more, according to a release from city officials. The mayor set a timeline for reopening indoor movie theaters at a limited capacity and with modifications on Oct. 7, and public outdoor playgrounds in mid-October.
What’s more, Contra Costa advanced from the purple to the red tier, joining Alameda, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Solano counties in this category. Contra Costa County now has the option to reopen all businesses that are allowed under the new state guidelines, including indoor gyms with 10% capacity and museums, movie theaters, churches and restaurant dining rooms at 25% capacity.
Personal care services — such as skin care boutiques and tattoo parlors — can welcome back customers indoors with modifications. Indoor retail and malls can operate at 50% capacity, up from 25%. Bars, breweries and distilleries are not allowed to reopen in the red tier.
Now, only Sonoma County remains in the purple with a positivity rate above 8% and new daily cases more than seven per 100,000 cases.
California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly gave an update Tuesday afternoon on the counties’ tier status in the fifth week of the state’s new reopening plan. Ghaly also announced six other counties (Butte, Fresno, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara and Yolo) moving from purple to red and two more (Amador and Calaveras) jumping from red to orange.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s color-coded system sorts counties into four tiers — “purple” (widespread), “red” (substantial), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) — that measure the spread of COVID-19 and dictate what types of businesses and activities are allowed to open. The structure allows counties to be more restrictive and move more slowly than the state in its reopening.
For a county to move into the red tier, it must report fewer than seven daily cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity under 8% for 14 consecutive days. The orange tier requires fewer than 3.9 cases per 100,000 and a test positivity under 4.9% and the yellow less than 1 case per 100,000 and lower than 2% positivity.
Each county is assigned its tier every Tuesday, and a county must remain in a tier for 21 consecutive days before moving to the next one. To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for 14 consecutive days.
On each day of assessment, the case counts are calculated by taking a seven-day average of daily cases per capita lagged an additional seven days to account for reporting delays.
A county can move backward by failing to meet the criteria for two consecutive weeks, or if state officials see a rapid rise in hospitalizations.
Amy Graff is the News Editor for SFGATE. Email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.