Los Angeles Moves To Yellow Tier As Pandemic Numbers Hit Record Lows – Deadline

Los Angeles County officially qualified for the least-restrictive Yellow tier in the state’s COVID-19 reopening blueprint today. San Francisco and tiny Trinity County advanced from the Orange tier into Yellow. That’s about 11 million California residents who will be able to move more freely. It’s also remarkable, given that L.A. and S.F. are among the most densely-populated counties in the state.

L.A. county on Monday announced zero COVID-19 deaths for the second day in a row — although the numbers are likely due to weekend reporting lag. The entire state of California on Tuesday reported only two deaths related to the pandemic.

Coronavirus hospitalizations in CA fell to a pandemic-record low on Monday. The state also had a record-low 1.1 percent test positivity rate on Monday. Meanwhile, the state’s northern neighbors Oregon and Washington are shutting down again due to a spring surge.

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Reaching the Yellow tier requires a county to have an adjusted average daily rate of new Covid cases less 2 per 100,000 residents — and maintain that rate for two weeks. Last week, L.A. County’s rate fell to 1.9 per 100,000 residents. On Tuesday that adjusted rate was 1.6 per 100,000, a record low for the region. That means the county may officially advance to the Yellow tier on Wednesday, although the relaxed restrictions that come with the move will not take effect in Los Angeles until Thursday, according to Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.

Entering the Yellow tier allows higher capacity limits at most businesses, including movie theaters, concert venues and theme parks. State guidelines say fitness centers, cardrooms, wineries and breweries, for instance, are permitted to increase indoor attendance to 50% of capacity, up from the current 25%; bars are able to open indoors at 25%; outdoor venues such as Dodger Stadium can increase capacity to 67%, up from the previous 33%; and amusement parks such as Universal Studios, which began allowing fully-vaccinated out-of-state visitors last week, could go to 35% capacity, up from 25%. Some venues where all customers are fully vaccinated can make even larger increases. Local health officials are allowed to be more strict, but Ferrer said on Monday, “We will be aligning fairly significantly with the direction the state is going.”

Movie theaters, for instance, allowed to reopen to “50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer” in the Orange tier now may “increase capacity by an additional 50%, up to a maximum of 50% of total venue capacity,” under state rules if all patrons are fully vaccinated. In other words, there is no longer a 200-person maximum.

According to Ferrer, 37% of Angelenos are fully vaccinated.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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