Santa Clara County moved into the state's orange tier of COVID-19 restrictions Tuesday, allowing the county to expand indoor capacities for some businesses and reopen bars outdoors starting Wednesday.
In the Bay Area, San Francisco and Marin counties were also cleared to enter the orange tier on Tuesday. They join San Mateo County as the only counties in the region to proceed into the orange tier since the state's stay-at-home order was lifted in January.
Santa Clara County Health Officer and Public Health Director Dr. Sara Cody said the tier change reflects the county's persistence in reducing its cases and hospitalizations but advised residents to continue observing the public health guidance that has become rote over the last year.
"Advancement to the Orange Tier reflects the patience and persistence of the whole community in Santa Clara County. To continue to prevent cases and resultant hospitalizations and deaths, we must continue to wear masks, social distance, stay outdoors as much as possible, and get vaccinated when it's our turn," Cody said in a statement released Tuesday. "We are close to a significant increase in vaccine supplies, but until those doses are in arms, we must protect each other against another surge."
The tier change from red to orange will allow each county to increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50% for sectors such as places of worship, movie theaters and restaurants. Gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to raise capacity from 10% to 25%.
Orange is the most restrictive tier in which bars can operate under any circumstance. A move to the yellow tier allows a county to resume indoor operations at bars at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, according to the California Department of Public Health.
In addition, business sectors like family entertainment centers, cardrooms, offices and wineries will be allowed to resume indoor operations after being limited to opening outdoors or being closed altogether in the red and purple tiers.
On April 1, counties in the orange tier can allow 33% capacity crowds at outdoor professional sporting events and 25% capacity or 500 people, whichever is fewer, at amusement parks.
Guests at outdoor arenas must be state residents while amusement park guests must live in the same county as the venue.
Details on which businesses can operate in the orange tier and at what capacity can be found at covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
This story will be updated.