County officials reported welcome news: with vaccination rates rising and COVID-19 cases declining, San Bernardino County transitioned from the state’s most restrictive Purple Tier, where it has been since last August, to the more open Red Tier on Sunday, March 14.
“People throughout our county have worked relentlessly over the past year to protect each other’s health and safety,” said Board of Supervisor’s Chairman Curt Hagman. “This has been a community-wide effort involving everyone from healthcare professionals and essential workers to businesses and residents following strict public health protocols. Our diligence is now beginning to pay off.”
Corwin Porter, the county’s public health director, noted that the county saw 47 new positive cases on March 9, compared to 5,421 new cases on Jan. 4 — a 99 percent decrease. The county’s current case rate is 5.2 cases per 100,000 residents, its positivity rate is 2.8 percent and its equity positivity rate is 3.2 percent.
“We have seen a steady decline in all the key metrics, including hospitalizations, and that decline should persist as we continue vaccinating more and more residents every week,” Porter said.
The move into the Red Tier means numerous local businesses, including gyms, restaurants, movie theaters and museums, can open for indoor services with modifications.
• Gyms will be allowed to open indoors at 10 percent capacity
• Retailers and malls can operate at 50 percent capacity
• Hair and nail salons can continue to operate indoors with modifications
• Restaurants can operate indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
• Movie theaters can reopen at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
• Museums, zoos, and aquariums can reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity
• Libraries can open at 50 percent capacity
• Outdoor live events can resume at 20 percent capacity (effective April 1)
• Amusement parks can reopen at 15 percent capacity and small group restrictions (effective April 1)
• Schools may reopen fully for in-person instruction following re-opening guidance. Local school officials will decide whether and when that will occur.
Porter emphasized that, while improving numbers are allowing the county to proceed into the Red Tier, residents should not let up on the behaviors that have helped us achieve this success.
“We encourage you to enjoy the additional opportunities created by our move to the red tier, but please remember to keep wearing face coverings, washing your hands, maintaining physical distance from others, and avoiding large social gatherings,” he said. “We’ve made huge progress but we’re not out of the woods yet.”
Other new guidelines announced
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also updated public health guidance in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to allow for additional safe and sustainable reopening activities in the state.
Specifically there are new guidelines governing breweries, wineries and distilleries, allowing these businesses that do not serve meals to open outdoors with conditions. Also, it was announced sleep-away camps will be allowed to open for counties in the orange tier.