BY RACHAEL GARCIA
Editor, Record Gazette
Riverside County was approved to move into a less-restrictive tier, which will allow more businesses to reopen in the state’s coronavirus reopening framework after COVID-19 metrics improved, county officials said.
Effective Tuesday, Sept. 22, Riverside County is in California’s red COVID-19 tier — meaning that coronavirus spread has been “substantial” but is no longer “widespread.”
Riverside County Public Health Officer Cameron Kaiser confirmed the county’s move into the red tier during a Riverside County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday where Supervisor Jeff Hewitt proposed going against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, California’s color-coded, four-tier system that permits different levels of reopening based on the county’s positivity rate, and opening the county faster.
The county met the two red-tier requirements — a case rate below seven new cases per 100,000 people and a testing positivity rate below 8 percent for two consecutive weeks — from Aug. 30 to Sept. 12, according to the state.
The county had been in the most restrictive tier, purple, up until Tuesday.
Within the red tier, gyms, places of worship, restaurants and movie theaters can resume limited indoor operations.
Specifically, restaurants may offer indoor dining, but are limited to 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Houses of worship can return to indoor services and movie theaters can begin showing films with a maximum attendance equal to 25 percent of their capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Further, gyms and fitness centers can only accommodate 10 percent of their indoor capacity; retail shopping and shopping centers may operate indoors at 50 percent capacity; personal care services can conduct business indoors with modifications; museums, zoos and aquarium at 25 percent capacity.
Bars that do not serve food must remain closed for now.