SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif — A possible change to California's COVID-19 reopening schedule could have San Diego County promoted to the less-restrictive red tier by as early as Wednesday, according to county officials.
The red tier will feature a limited allowance of indoor dining, gyms, movie theaters and other businesses and services.
Kaminski's Bar-B-Q in Poway was prepping Sunday for the crowd expected Wednesday setting up indoor and outdoor tables socially distanced and everything clean and ready for all those customers who have had to stay home the past year.
"It's a relief," said owner Marsha Kaminski."It's been a year almost to the day and I remember last St. Patrick's Day: just take-out only."
Hours had to be juggled and trimmed here and there but she said she didn't lay anyone off due to COVID and now they get to shine once more.
"[We're] very excited - excited for the staff and excited for the people," Kaminski said.
The addition of parking lot dining turned out well she added and said she plans to keep the outdoor option.
"We're lucky [we have a] pretty good patio size, [we] have TVs out there, heaters," she said.
California's Department of Public Health modified the Blueprint for a Safer Economy to lead with opening activities when vaccines have been deployed to the hardest-hit communities. The modification will shift Blueprint tier thresholds to allow slightly higher case rates per 100,000 population once more inoculations have occurred in the communities suffering the most, allowing counties to move to less restrictive tiers.
The initial goal of the vaccine equity metric is to deliver a minimum of 2 million doses to the hardest-hit quarter of the state as measured by the Healthy Places Index. The state estimates it will deliver the 2 million doses to that quartile this week.
Modifications to the Blueprint will primarily include two approaches: (1) shifting the tier threshold to higher case rates per 100K population per day based on meeting vaccination thresholds within Vaccine Equity Quartile communities and; (2) changing certain sector-specific guidance and issuing new sector guidance to incorporate learnings from the last year about how the virus spreads.
The floor for the most restrictive, purple tier will move to 10 daily cases per 100,000 population once the state hits that benchmark. As of Tuesday's state update, San Diego County has a case rate of 8.8 per 100,000 -- enough to qualify for one week of the proposed changed red tier.
County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said he was confident the numbers would allow San Diego County to post a sub-10 case rate on Tuesday, allowing the county to enter the red tier by as early as Wednesday.
According to the CDPH, there are 13 counties expected to move to the less restrictive red tier on Tuesday, March 16, based on current data and projections, including San Diego.
The 13 counties expected to move on Tuesday are San Diego, Sacramento, Kings, Lake, Monterey, Riverside, San Joaquin, Santa Barbara, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Ventura and Yuba.
Governor Gavin Newsom said on Wednesday that California had reached 10 million vaccine doses which no other state in the country had done. The state has been using a four-tier color-coded system to guide schools and businesses when they can re-open.
Below is a breakdown of what can open when a county is in the red tier.
RED TIER RESTRICTIONS
- Hair salons: open indoors with modifications
- Retail: open indoors at 50% capacity
- Malls: open indoors at 50% capacity and limited food courts
- Nail salons: open indoors with modifications
- Electrolysis: open indoors with modifications
- Personal care services (body waxing, etc.): open indoor with modifications
- Tattooing and piercing: open indoors with modifications
- Museums, zoos and aquariums: open indoors at 25% capacity
- Places of worship: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Movie theaters: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Hotels: open with modifications, plus fitness centers can open at 10% capacity
- Gyms: open indoors at 10% capacity
- Restaurants: open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Wineries and Breweries: effective March 13 in purple and red tiers: Outdoor only with modifications including reservations, 90-minute time limit, seating/tables only, and limited hours (service for on-site consumption closed by 8 p.m.)
- Bars: closed
- Family entertainment centers: outdoor only, like mini golf, batting cages and go-kart racing
- Cardrooms: outdoor only
- Non-essential offices: remote work only
- Professional sports: outdoor only at 20% capacity starting April 1
- Schools: can reopen for in-person instruction after five days out of the purple tier
- Theme parks: can reopen at 15% capacity starting April 1
- Live performances: outdoor only at 20% capacity starting April 1
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