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COVID-19 Reopening: Alameda, Santa Clara Counties Move Into Orange Tier

(CBS SF) – Alameda County and Santa Clara County have moved into the less restrictive Orange Tier under the state's COVID-19 reopening framework on Tuesday, health officials said.

Under the orange tier, more establishments can expand indoor operations with modifications, including retail, shopping centers, museums, houses of worship and offices.

Last week, Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody announced that once Santa Clara moves into the orange tier, the county would follow most of the state guidelines under the tier, but would have lower capacities for indoor gatherings and indoor dining.

Live Press Conference: County of Santa Clara Moves Into State's Orange Tier: Revised Risk Reduction Order will Allow Resumption of Additional Businesses and Activities on Oct. 14, 2020 | 10.13.2020

County of Santa Clara moves into State's Orange Tier, revised Risk Reduction Order will allow resumption of additional businesses and activities beginning at 12:00 AM PT on Wednesday, October 14, 2020. However, it does not necessarily mean all open activities are safe. More information on the order is available: Full Transcripts:

Posted by County of Santa Clara Public Health Department on Tuesday, October 13, 2020

During a press briefing on Tuesday, Doctor Cody noted that Santa Clara County has faced additional challenges as the most populous county to move into the orange tier in the state.

With the move, outdoor gatherings in Santa Clara County of up to 200 people will be allowed, along with indoor gatherings of up to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Indoor operations at restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship are also being allow in the county at up to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Indoor pools are now allowed to reopen as well. Health officials also said gyms and fitness centers, family entertainment centers and wineries are allowed to reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity. Additionally, bars, breweries and distilleries are now allowed to operate outdoors without providing meals.

Indoor museums and zoos can operate at up to 50 percent capacity and college sports activities without fans are allowed as long as participants are following county and state requirements. Officials also said there is now no capacity limitation for malls and other retail businesses.

The new limits in Santa Clara County go into effect on Wednesday, October 14. More information is available on the county COVID-19 website.

Meanwhile in Alameda County, officials said they planned to largely continue to proceed slowly when it comes to reopening. While elementary school students may return to schools that are ready as of Tuesday and playgrounds could reopen as of Friday, other activities may not resume until later in the month.

The county said it is preparing to update local orders to permit the following activities on the week of October 26:

• Indoor dining at up to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
• Indoor worship services at up to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
• Indoor theaters at up to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.
• Expansion of indoor retail and indoor malls at up to 50 percent capacity and permitting limited food courts.

"We are glad to see improving case rates and decreasing test positivity, including among our communities of color, but we caution residents that cases can rise very quickly, as we saw during the summer surge," interim health officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said. "Especially with flu season coming, if we see spikes in COVID-19 cases and a rise in hospitalizations, we will take action to limit the spread and protect public health including resuming restrictions if needed."

More information on the county's current restrictions are available at the Alameda County COVID-19 website.

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