Monday, 18 October, 2021


California Sets Strict Guidelines for Movie Theaters to Reopen

Governor Newsom Governor Newsom
Patty Aguilar | 29 August, 2020, 15:35

"We're going to be more stubborn this time and have a mandatory wait time between moves".

With that in mind, Newsom unveiled a new color-coding system with four levels of COVID concern - replacing the former system in which counties were either on or off the state's monitoring list. It was a source of much frustration and confusion among residents, and particularly business owners, who, at one point, learned they would need to halt indoor operations less than 24 hours after reopening their doors.

The changes, which would take effect Monday, came after announcement of a new four-tier, color-coded framework created to replace the state's existing COVID-19 watchlist.

There are now 38 counties in the "purple tier", including Los Angeles, which means the cases and rates are still considered "widespread". In the "yellow tier", capacity must be limited to 50%.

The color codes and risk levels are based on the number of new daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents, and the percentage of positive tests. San Francisco and San Diego counties "currently meet the requirements to be in the red tier, so movie theaters in those counties would be allowed reopen at just 25% capacity". They are not allowed to skip through any tiers, regardless of their qualification. In order to move into a less restrictive tier at the end of the 21-day period, a county must have met its tier's criteria for two consecutive weeks. "Quite the contrary. These are the guidelines, the color-coded county guidelines that we're putting forward to get us through this flu season and...work through the next few months in the state of California".

A new process for tightening back up when conditions worsen: Counties that fail to meet the metrics for their current tier for two consecutive weeks must move backward and adopt more restrictions. As before, though, counties that want to maintain more strict rules can do so.

Under the tier system, 38 counties, including Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, will fall under the purple tier, which represents 87% of the state's population, Newsom said.

California has reported more than 679,000 coronavirus cases as of Tuesday and more than 12,400 deaths. Counties in this tier have less than one new case per 100,000 people per day and a positivity rate of less than 2%. Some counties in the first tier may be eligible to move to the next sooner.

In Sacramento County, as of this week, the county health order forbids indoor hair styling or cutting.

"We have repeatedly said that the spread of the virus in our community is not linked to businesses like hair salons", San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement responding to the new state's criteria. The new process will put more power with the state instead of the counties.

"We wanted to make adjustments based upon the input we received from county health officers, input we received from experts, our own experience here in the state of California, to adjust the frameworks from the old monitoring list to a more dynamic list that we hope is not only more dynamic, but is much more simple to understand", Newsom said.

For more information on each county's progress report and which businesses can reopen, visit covid19.ca.gov. Counties in this tier have four to seven cases per 100,000 people per day and a test positivity rate of 5% to 8%. Newsom attributed the decrease to the wildfires, which have impacted around 11 testing laboratories, including OptumServe and Verily.

The flu season will be arriving in the fall and having a better testing system to identify COVID-19, which has numerous same symptoms, will be key to ensuring proper diagnosis.

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