“I think we’re on track to move into the Yellow tier,” said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Monday. “I know our case numbers stayed low.”
The continued low case numbers are expected to allow the county this week to advance to the least-restrictive Yellow tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which guides economic and other restrictions during the pandemic. Even more remarkable than the case numbers, the county reported zero new Covid-related deaths on Sunday and Monday.
Reaching the Yellow tier requires a county to have an adjusted average daily rate of new COVID cases that is less than two per 100,000 residents. Last week, Los Angeles County’s rate fell to 1.9 per 100,000 residents. If the rate remains below two when new state-adjusted figures are released Tuesday, the county will officially advance to the yellow tier on Wednesday, although the relaxed restrictions that come with the move will not take effect until Thursday in Los Angeles, according to Ferrer. She also reminded residents that the state’s numbers are “adjusted,” meaning the state applies a number of considerations to come up with a final number.
“They use an adjusted case rate, but I’m not sure what this will be,” said Ferrer.
Entering the Yellow tier would allow 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, would be permitted to increase indoor attendance to 50% of capacity, up from the current 25%; bars would be able to open indoors at 25%; outdoor venues such as Dodger Stadium could increase capacity to 67%, up from the current 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 would seen even larger increases. Local 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.”
See the state’s sector chart here.
Movie theaters, for instance, now allowed to reopen to “50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer” in the Orange tier may “increase capacity by an additional 50%, up to a maximum of 50% of total venue capacity,” under state rules. In other words, there is no longer a 200-person maximum.
L.A. County remained in the state’s Orange tier for nearly a month before last week meeting the Yellow tier criteria for the first time. If, as anticipated, Los Angeles County continues to meet the State’s Yellow tier criteria for one more week, the County will be allowed to enter into the Yellow tier in the middle of next week.
Ferrer said she is confident the county will qualify for the Yellow tier this week, but the county won’t know for sure until state figures are released around midday Tuesday.