Ventura County moved into the less restrictive red tier Tuesday, officials announced. The county's health officials say their positivity rate is at 3%, well below the state’s benchmark of 8%--meaning more indoor operations will be able to commence but with strict guidelines in place.
The Simi Valley Seventh-Day Adventist Church remained quiet and empty inside on Tuesday, as all the preaching and prayer has been taking place virtually over the past few months. But that could soon be changing. With the move to the red tier, worshipers will be welcome back inside.
Coronavirus Deaths in Your City and State — and Across the US
These charts use daily coronavirus death data from Johns Hopkins University to show the seven-day moving average of deaths at the city, state and country level.
The impact of coronavirus varies enormously in the United States from one place to another.
Source: Johns Hopkins University.
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Pastor Jan White said, "There’s just something about being connected to a body of believers and encouraging each other and having that face to face contact."
Pastors Phil and Jan White with the church in Simi Valley are excited to get back to preaching to an audience instead of empty pews.
"Of course, we have to take a look at what all this means," Pastor Phil White said. "I’m sure there are going to be restrictions on singing, all the social distancing and how many people can be in the church, but we are optimistic about the opportunities and it’s time to come together again."
Governor Gavin Newsom’s office announced Ventura County was granted permission to move down into the red tier, after a drop in case rates. Places of worship will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity, or 100 people, whichever is less.
In addition, indoor malls and retail will bump up to 50% capacity. Also, indoor theaters and museums will open at 25% capacity. Many gyms that have been operating outside will be allowed to move inside at 10% capacity, with 12 feet of social distance required.
Meanwhile, restaurants will be allowed to fill their indoor tables again, at 25% capacity.
Flavio Pinto, whose family has owned Palapa Mexican Food for 18 years, says they’ve been working to keep up with all the changes and restrictions and that now they’ll start getting their dining room ready.
Pinto said, "We gotta come in and disinfect and clear out the area and find the seating arrangement, but I think it’s definitely going to be a plus to operate indoor and outdoor."
The move to the red tier, which is one step below the state's highest purple tier, is a step in the right direction and a sign of progress in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. With the additional openings, businesses and the community will work to keep the numbers down and avoid regressing back to the highly restrictive purple tier.