Signs of reopening have hit LA County.
As of March 15, Los Angeles County has moved to a red tier status allowing for gyms, restaurants and movie theaters to open for indoor activities. The opening and lifting of restrictions give hope to numerous businesses to come back from the pandemic.
“This is a moment to be more careful, not too as some have said to have ‘senioritis.’ We have to do our part to finish this strong. Don’t let all the good things you have done amount to nothing,” Mayor Garcetti stated in a press briefing on Monday.
On March 16 the LA County Board of Supervisors passed new guidance rules for safety violations in restaurants. The penalty would only focus on repeat offenders for COVID-19 restrictions for restaurants.
Supervisors who have voted against such heavy fines include Janice Hahn and Kathryn Barger. According to NBC, the supervisors had tried to pass a motion directing health inspectors not to impose any fines at all on a first visit. Hahn, who co-authored a July motion calling for financial penalties, stated that these fines amounted to “salt in the wound” for businesses struggling to get back on their feet and heavy spending on safety improvements.
The county officials confirmed the move to the red tier on Friday following the threshold of 2 million vaccinations administered to communities across the state. The red tier guidelines include opening indoor dining at 25% capacity and all tables being 8 feet apart while servers wear face masks.
The guidelines continue to suggest that museums and zoos can open at 25% capacity, gym and fitness centers can open at 10% capacity and movie theaters are allowed a 25% capacity with reserved seating available.
Indoor shopping malls can open to 50% capacity with recreational stops remaining closed. The food courts can stay open at 25% capacity with adherence to indoor dining requirements.
The red tier also allows for theme parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood to start opening with a 15% capacity with residents of the state attending only.
Schools will also be reopened for in-person instruction for grades 7-12. Higher education can also permit activities on campus.
Long Beach and Pasadena, who have their own health official rules, followed the county’s lead and began opening up with red tiers policies.
Long Beach officials report, “that city will also align with new guidelines the state announced Thursday allowing wineries and breweries that do not serve food to reopen outdoors for alcohol service. The rule requires all customers to have an advance reservation and be seated at tables, all of which will have a 90-minute time limit per customer.”
As of Tuesday, 23 counties total in California were allowed to move to the red tier alongside L.A. and Orange counties.
April 1 will look to see newly updated guidelines on audiences for live sporting events with up to 20% capacity for red tier counties.
Gov. Gavin Newsom guidelines state that when the state administers 4 million vaccines in hard hit communities the orange tier restrictions will be considered, allowing further flexibility on capacity restrictions. The requirements for the orange tier are 2 to 5.9 daily new COVID-19 cases per 100,000.
The red tier brings hope to communities about starting to open back up. The increased vaccination rates have also helped to alleviate the spread of COVID-19, and the governor’s comments seem to be providing light as the nation reaches the year mark of COVID-19 shutdowns.