Los Angeles County was officially in the less-restrictive orange tier of the state's COVID-19 business-reopening blueprint Wednesday -- but it will wait until Monday before easing economic restrictions, and some rules will be stricter than state guidelines.
The move to orange means more capacity at retail stores, movie theaters, restaurants and other attractions, along with an array of other adjustments, including the reopening -- outdoors only -- of bars that don't serve food.
County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that even though the county has officially moved into the orange tier, it will maintain more restrictive red-tier-level rules until 12:01 a.m. Monday.
"This allows the county to follow the state guidelines and wait until we've completed three weeks in the red tier to be sure that our case numbers do not rise this third week since our earlier reopenings,'' Ferrer said.
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The state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy normally requires counties to remain in a tier for at least three weeks before advancing to a less-restrictive level, but it inexplicably waived that requirement for both Los Angeles and Orange counties, allowing both to move to the orange tier on Wednesday. Unlike Los Angeles, Orange County plans to implement orange-tier guidelines on Wednesday.
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Moving to the orange tier requires a county to have an average daily rate of new COVID infections of 3.9 per 100,000 residents, along with a testing-positivity rate of 4.9% or less, and maintain those levels for two consecutive weeks.
According to weekly figures released by the state Tuesday, Los Angeles had a new case rate of 3.1 per 100,000 residents, and a testing-positivity rate of 1.5%. Both numbers were down from last week, when the county's case rate was 3.7 per 100,000 residents, and the testing-positivity rate of 1.8%.
Ferrer said a revised Health Officer Order will be posted on Friday so business owners will be aware of all the new guidelines and have the weekend to adjust their operations accordingly. While the county is largely aligning with state guidelines for the orange tier, it will have some stricter requirements.
California COVID-19 Vaccinations
The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient's county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.