Los Angeles and Ventura counties are slated for the less restrictive orange tier on Monday and Wednesday, respectively, but county officials are reserving the right to implement their own limits for sectors of the economy.
The new tier allows bars to reopen outdoors without needing to serve food – still with social distancing modifications. Indoor capacity for houses of worship, museums, zoos and aquariums would go from 25 to 50 percent; for restaurants and movie theaters, indoor capacity is raised to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer, according to the state. Indoor gyms and yoga studios would up capacity from 10 to 25 percent; grocery, retail, hair salons, barbershops and personal care services can increase capacity from 50 to 75 percent.
Bowling alleys, card rooms and satellite wagering sites will reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity.
However, the L.A. County Department of Public Health has made a recommendation to keep grocery and retail capacity at 50 percent until April 15, a deviation from the state rules. This would be to allow more grocery store workers to get vaccinated in time, the agency said.
Ventura County has not released any limitations on the state’s orange tier as of Friday.
The state’s orange tier requires 2 to 5.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents, 2 to 4.9 percent positivity rate and less than 5.3 percent positive tests. Equitable vaccine distribution is factor too -- as certain counties administer more vaccines in ZIP codes hard hit by the pandemic, it will be easier to move into lighter tiers moving forward.
“Reaching the Orange Tier is a welcome milestone for Los Angeles County and everyone who lives and works here. After a long, tough year, this is the clearest sign yet that we are moving into a new season of hope and renewal,” the L.A. County Board of Supervisors said in a statement. “We’ve come too far to let our guard down now, so please continue to follow the public health guidance on masking and distancing, and be sure to get vaccinated as soon as it’s your turn. We are still on a long road to recovery, and we don’t want to lose the momentum that has helped us reach the Orange Tier, and all it stands for in terms of enjoying a ‘new normal’ in our daily lives.”
Both counties moved from the most restrictive purple tier to the red tier in time for St. Patrick’s Day — neither county has progressed this far previously in the state-imposed four-color system since it was introduced in August.