Gov. Gavin Newsom is flanked by Fresno County Supervisor Brian Pacheco, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and Joe Prado with Fresno County's health department during a Feb. 10 appearance in Fresno. Photo by Breanna Hardy
Written by Breanna Hardy
For the first time since November, Tulare County has moved from the purple tier to the red tier. Kings, Madera and Fresno counties remain in purple, despite the California Department of Public Health estimating that Kings County would move to red today.
Effective immediately under the red tier, restaurants may allow dining indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people – whichever is fewer. Retailers can increase capacity from 25% to 50%. Movie theaters can open indoors with a maximum audience of 100 people or 25% – whichever is fewer. Gyms can also reopen at 10% capacity. Middle schools and high schools can also now reopen.
“We are just really excited to be able to open our businesses again,” said Jessica Brackeen, CEO of Porterville Chamber of Commerce.
Brackeen said it will be especially helpful for restaurants, which have changed their business models on and off for the past year.
As of March 12, the state had passed a milestone of two million vaccinations, which eases the threshold between tiers. The new threshold for the purple tier is greater than 10 cases per 100,000 people. The previous threshold was seven cases per 100,000 people.
The red tier qualifications now include counties with four to 10 cases per 100,000 people. The state also added a vaccination component to the tiers. As the number of fully vaccinated residents increases, it will be easier for counties to stay in or graduate to less restrictive tiers.
As of last week, Fresno County had 12 cases per 100,000, having plateaued slightly after continually decreasing week over week. Fresno County health officials hope to see the county enter the red tier in the next week or two.