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Orange, San Bernardino Counties Move Into Less Restrictive Red Tier Sunday

ORANGE (CBSLA/AP) — Orange and San Bernardino counties on Sunday were expected to move into the lower, red-tier category, allowing for limited indoor activities.

"Everybody is super excited," said Brian Whitson, owner of the restaurant, Snooze. "We have a lot of people that have been waiting to get inside so we have seen some faces we haven't seen in a while."

The move comes as a result of the state hitting a 2 million equity metric aimed at getting more vaccines into low-income communities. Such allows these counties to allow limited indoor dining or watching a movie at a theater.

Officials said that 13 counties would be able to open restaurants, gyms and museums at limited capacity on Sunday. Another 13 counties are expected to reopen Wednesday under a different metric.

Though Los Angeles was pegged to move into the less restrictive tier as well, officials said they would wait until Monday to make that assessment.

"The governor is finally changing his rules in favor of getting us back to some form of normal," Supervisor Don Wagner of O.C. said. "Good for him. And good for the people of Orange County who have been following safety protocols and getting the vaccine to protect themselves, their friends, and family."

On Monday, San Diego, Sacramento, Riverside and Ventura are among 13 additional counties expected to reopen Wednesday via the normal reassignment process that occurs every Tuesday. San Joaquin and Santa Barbara are in this category. The hard-hit counties of Kern and Fresno in the central valley remain in the most restrictive tier.

Also Sunday, the state's first case of a COVID-19 variant first discovered in Brazil in January was detected in San Bernardino, according to officials in that county.

The California Department of Public Health alerted the county to the case Saturday after it was detected in a positive test sample collected on March 2, according to San Bernardino County public information officer David Wert.

Contact tracers have been in contact with the resident, a man in his 40s. He reported experiencing symptoms and that he is self-isolating at home. He had not been vaccinated.

The P.1 "Brazilian" variant is believed to be more contagious than the most-common strain of the virus.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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