Covid-19 guidelines were relaxed in an announcement all across California on Friday which is most likely the prelude to a bigger reopening.
Governor Gavin Newsom has been reminding California residents for weeks that the state will loosen the restrictions based on vaccine equity. This means authorities will let everyone relax on restrictions based on how quickly the under-served communities are vaccinated in California.
The Governor had ordered weeks ago that the state’s vaccine supply of 40% should be kept aside exclusively for its under-served communities. He had also introduced two important thresholds that would lead to bigger reopenings. The first was when vaccinations in the lowest economic quartile reach 2 million and the second was when the same population receives 4 million doses. California crossed 2 million vaccinations on March 12. 3 weeks later, California is all set to cross the 4 million milestone.
Newsom told San Diago officials that he is expecting “four million next week”. When he spoke, California had already reported 3,730,000 vaccinations in the lowest economic quartile of residents. The number of vaccinations in this group has topped 100,000 in one day. It can easily be assumed that California will finish 4 million very soon.
So what is the plan after 4 million? Counties will easily be able to progress through California’s color-coded tiers for reopening. Los Angeles County sits in the Orange tier with 3.1 cases per 100,000. To move to the Yellow tier it will have to fall down to 1 case per 100,000 residents. Orange County has 2.9 cases per 100,000 residents. Although, once the lowest economic quartile has received 4 million vaccinations, then the requirement for the Yellow tier will change to 2 new cases per 100,000 residents. Both, Los Angeles County and Orange County can make it to the Yellow tier next week if the requirements change.
Moving into the Yellow tier will not do much for movie theaters which would still only be allowed 50% capacity. But if the counties move to the Yellow tier then the theme parks of Universal Studios Hollywood, Disneyland, and Magic Mountain will be allowed to increase their capacity by another 10% to 35% total. Parks will be able to increase their indoor dining capacity to 50% and will also be able to sell tickets at their gates.
The Yellow Tier could also be very beneficial for sports, large concerts, and theatrical venues. The capacity is limited to 2000 people or 10% but it can be increased to 50% if all the guests show proof of full vaccination or they are tested and they show their negative test reports.
What after the Yellow Tier? Newsom said on Friday, “Ultimately [we’ll be] getting to a green tier, which we’ll be talking a lot more about next week.”
If all goes to plan, next week will see a lot of restrictions loosened in California, and hopefully, by next month, the state’s Counties shall already be listed in the safe green zone.