Last week, Governor Gavin Newsom released a new Blueprint for a Safer Economy, color coded to help businesses and Californians see how the state rates their area’s efforts at reducing COVID-19 and which activities are allowed or restricted.
The two main metrics for determining a county’s risk level and prevalence of the virus are the rate of new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people per day (seven-day average) and the rate of people testing positive for the virus.
To see the Blueprint and industry details, visit covid19.ca.gov.
If a county has more stringent criteria than the state, the more restrictive requirements prevail.
As of August 31, the tiers, risk levels, counties in the tier and a sampling of allowed activities were as follows:
• Tier 1: Purple: Widespread. More than 7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents or a positive test rate of more than 8%. Most nonessential indoor business operations are closed. Counties may open some businesses and activities with modifications, including all retail, shopping centers at maximum 25% capacity, and hair salons and barbershops indoors. Restaurants/wineries and places of worship may open outdoors only, with modifications. Hotels and lodging may be open with modifications.
In the purple tier were 38 of the 58 counties.
• Tier 2: Red: Substantial. Between 4 and 7 new daily cases per 100,000 residents or positive test rate between 5% and 8%. Some nonessential indoor business operations are closed. Counties may open shopping centers at maximum 50% capacity. Restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship may open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Fitness centers at hotels/lodging may open at 10% capacity.
Counties in the red tier were: Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Lassen, Napa, Nevada, San Diego, San Francisco, Sierra.
• Tier 3: Orange: Moderate. Between 1 and 3.9 new daily cases per 100,000 residents or a positive test rate between 2% and 4.9%. Some business operations are open with modifications. Restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship may open at maximum 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Wineries may open indoors at maximum 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. At hotels/lodging, indoor pools may open and fitness centers may open at 25% capacity. Bars, breweries and distilleries may open outdoors, with modifications.
Counties in the orange tier were: Del Norte, Humboldt, Mariposa, Mono, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, Tuolumne.
• Tier 4: Yellow: Minimal. Less than 1 new case daily per 100,000 residents or less than 2% positive tests. Most business operations are open with modifications. Restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship may open at maximum 50% capacity. Wineries may open indoors at maximum 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Bars, breweries and distilleries may open indoors at maximum 50% capacity.
Counties in the yellow tier were: Alpine and Modoc.
Offices are tagged for remote work at the purple and red tiers and to be open indoors while encouraging telework for the orange and yellow tiers.
For all tiers, professional sports are to be conducted without live audiences, with modifications.
Moving through Tiers
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will assess indicators weekly and will release its first weekly assessment on September 8.
Counties will remain at each tier level for at least three weeks and will advance to the next, less restrictive tier when the county has met the criteria for both measures of that tier for the previous two consecutive weeks.
Counties will be sent back to a more restrictive tier if either the case rate or rate of positive tests has been at the level for the more restrictive tier for two consecutive weeks.