Credit: Sydney Ozawa | Mustang News

Starting tomorrow, March 3, San Luis Obispo County will be in the less restrictive red tier for COVID-19 guidelines, according to the county’s emergency website.

“This is a positive step in the right direction for our community, but we cannot take this gift for granted,” County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said in a press release. “We must remain vigilant as we move forward so that we do not undo this good work.”

There are four tiers in total: the purple “widespread” tier, the red “substantial” tier, the orange “moderate” tier and the yellow “minimal” tier. 

Movie theaters can now host indoor movie screenings at either 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less, and gyms can open indoor services at 10% capacity with modifications. Before, only outdoor movie screenings and outdoor gyms were permitted. 

Middle and high schools can also reopen with modifications.

Restaurants will be able to serve people indoors at 25% capacity and retail will be allowed to open up to 50% capacity. Under the more restrictive purple tier, restaurants could only serve outdoor dining and retail at 25% capacity.

Some businesses will still only be allowed to operate outdoors, such as wineries and family entertainment centers, like mini-golf.

But some businesses will still remain closed. These include bowling alleys, community centers and bars.

Just a few days before this change, San Luis Obispo county allowed recreational sports to resume. Now that the county has moved into the red tier, additional “outdoor moderate-contact sports” are also permitted, according to the state’s guidelines.

A county is placed in the red “substantial” tier when the positivity rate is between 5%-8%, the adjusted case rate is between 4%-7% and the health equity quartile between 5.3%-8%, according to the blueprint for a safer economy. These are based on a seven day average. 

Currently, the positivity rate for San Luis Obispo County is 2.7% and the health equity quartile positivity rate is at 3.4%, but the adjusted case rate is 6.8%, according to the blueprint for a safer economy. 

Although both positivity rates are lower than the averages for the red tier, falling within the less restrictive orange “moderate” tier, the adjusted case rate places San Luis Obispo County within the red tier. Since both the positivity rates were two tiers below the county’s previous purple tier, the county was eligible for “accelerated progression” to move into the red tier, according to a press release.

Under this tier, some additional indoor operations will be allowed to reopen with modifications, according to San Luis Obispo County current emergency information. 

Masks and social distancing will still be enforced throughout the county. 

Most counties in California are in the purple tier and no counties are in the yellow tier. Currently, 16 counties are in the red tier, including San Luis Obispo County. Only Sierra and Alpine County are in the orange tier.

San Luis Obispo will begin to open up again, but it is still possible for the county to be moved back to the purple tier if cases begin to spike. 

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