Based on the data from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released Tuesday, Orange County has moved from the red tier to the less-restrictive orange tier as part of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
The move into the orange tier goes into effect today.
Many businesses which allowed indoor activities in the red tier—restaurants, museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship and movie theaters—can expand their capacity from 25% to 50%.
All retail and shopping centers are allowed no maximum capacity, previously holding a 50% capacity. Wineries, breweries, distilleries and family entertainment centers may resume indoor with a max capacity of 25% after being restricted to outdoor operations.
Gyms and fitness center activities are allowed a 25% capacity, an increase from 10%, and may reopen indoor pools.
Bars can reopen outdoors with modifications after being closed under the more-restrictive purple and red tiers. Office workspaces may also reopen with modifications after being restricted to remote work.
A greater change under the orange tier is live audiences may now attend outdoor events such as sports and performances. Reservations and assigned seating will be required.
Beginning Thursday, the allowed capacity of amusement parks will expand to 25%, previously 15% under the red tier.
Orange is one of the first counties in Southern California, along with Los Angeles County, that was able to surpass the orange tier threshold, requiring 3.9 or fewer daily cases per 100,000 residents. The county reported 3.5 daily cases per 100,000 residents last week and had to maintain these metrics before officially moving into the orange tier.
As of Tuesday, Orange County reported a 1.46% positive test rate, dipping below orange tier levels into the yellow tier.
The county’s quick progression from the red tier to the orange tier may be due to the acceleration of vaccine rollout. According to the CDPH, Orange is among the top counties in the state for vaccination rates, following Los Angeles and San Diego counties.
Orange County has four vaccine Super PODs open to the public, Anaheim Convention Center, Disneyland Resort and Soka University in Aliso Viejo. The OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa will serve as a new vaccination site opening today.
The addition of the fourth site comes in preparation after the state announced last week that people age 50 years and older will be eligible for vaccine starting April 1, and all adults over 16 years old starting April 15.
Although the rate of new cases and hospitalizations continue to decline in Orange County and the rest of California, different parts of the country are seeing rises in COVID-19 cases again.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said in a press briefing Monday, “we have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope—but right now I’m scared.”
For more information on the novel coronavirus in Orange County, case rates and vaccination plans, visit the OC Health Care Agency website.