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Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura Reach Less-Restrictive Orange Tier

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties Tuesday reached the less-restrictive orange tier in the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The move will take effect Wednesday.

Ventura reopens
VENTURA, CA - MARCH 16: People mill about on Main St. on Tuesday, March 16, 2021 in Ventura, CA. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

"We continue to make real progress with combating COVID-19 and the impacts on our businesses and communities," Riverside County Board of Supervisors Chair Karen Spiegel said in a statement. "Cases have been steadily declining, vaccine supply is improved. These are extremely positive signs that Riverside County continues to move forward and recover."

According to the California Department of Public Health, retail businesses can fully reopen with modifications, while restaurants, museums, movie theaters and zoos can increase capacity to 50%.

Bars can reopen outdoors. Additionally, gyms and wineries can increase to 25% capacity.

And, starting April 15, meetings, receptions and conferences will be allowed indoors with up to 150 attendees, if all guests are tested or fully vaccinated.

"This progress, thanks to the hard work of our community members, means that our restaurants, retailers, gyms and other businesses can open to more customers which will help keep doors open, grow jobs in industries that were hit hard during the height of the pandemic and get us moving forward on the recovery path," Ventura County Executive Officer Michael Powers said. "This is the time to keep it local in supporting our businesses."

RELATED: California Could Fully Reopen Without Tiered Schedule By June 15 If Infections, Hospitalizations Continue To Drop

On Tuesday, Riverside County had an adjusted case rate of 3.5 per 100,000 residents and a seven-day average positivity rate of of 2%; San Bernardino County had an adjusted case rate of 3.4 per 100,000 residents and a seven-day average positivity rate of 2%; and Ventura County had an adjusted case rate of 3.1 per 100,000 residents and a seven-day average positivity rate of 1.4%.

"California is making great progress in administering COVID-19 vaccine doses," Dr. Mark Ghaly, Secretary of California's Health and Human Services Agency, said in a statement announcing the moves. "We must continue to do our best to vaccinate Californians as safely and quickly as possible. Our vaccine equity focus remains the right thing to do and ensures we are having the greatest impact in reducing transmission, protecting our health care delivery system and saving lives."

Also on Tuesday, Riverside and San Bernardino counties started vaccinating all residents age 16 and older.

"This represents another milestone in our effort to get this pandemic under control and return life to normal in San Bernardino County," San Bernardino County's Interim Health Director Andrew Goldfrach said. "The disease is still with us, and we still need to remain cautious to avoid further outbreaks. Yet we have successfully vaccinated tens of thousands of our most vulnerable residents and have seen new cases and hospitalizations decrease rapidly, so we believe it's time to open appointments to everyone in the county."

Riverside County had 295,631 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 4,417 deaths and 288,924 recoveries. There were 102 COVID-19 hospitalizations, including 21 patients being treated in intensive care units.

San Bernardino County had 291,728 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 4,129 deaths and 286,467 recoveries. There were 99 COVID-19 hospitalizations, including 29 patients being treated in intensive care units.

Ventura County had 79,830 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 987 deaths and 78,569 recoveries. There were 23 COVID-19 hospitalizations, including five patients being treated in intensive care units.

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