Alameda, Solano, Santa Cruz counties now in red tier

Alameda, Solano and Santa Cruz counties are now all in the red tier, California officials determined on Tuesday. 

Under the state's guidelines, in order to bump up from the most restrictive purple tier, to red, counties have to have fewer than 7 new cases of COVID, for every 100,000 residents. And the positivity rate must be under 8 percent.

In Alameda County's case, the adjusted case rate is 4.8 for every 100,000. Santa Cruz's adjusted case rate is 5.3 per 100,000 and Solano County's adjusted case rate is 6.7 for every 100,000 residents. 

That means: 

  • Restaurants could seat people indoors, at 25% capacity
  • Retail and shopping centers could allow 50% capacity
  • Museums and aquariums  could open at 25% capacity
  • Movie theaters and fitness centers could open at 10% percent capacity

Stephen Baiter, Executive Director of the Eastbay Economic Development Alliance, says "With more than 1.5 million residents in Alameda County you've got thousands of businesses, especially small businesses, that have been impacted by the shelter in place orders, it's definitely a positive sign to see re-openings start to take place and see things on the horizon." 

Red tier counties can recommence restricted gathering spaces such as churches, amusement parks and spectator sports, which could mean some home seats available for A's Fans.

"As that happens, we'll definitely see folks get picked up for new jobs that those businesses can create," said Mr. Baiter.

Shifting to the red tier also paves the way for more public schools to reopen - especially middle and high schools.

In the Bay Area, San Francisco, Napa and Santa Clara, Marin, and San Mateo counties have already reached the red tier. 

Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties aren't quite there, yet.

While Contra Costa County has a low test positivity rate, at 2.9%, its adjusted case rate is 7.9 per 100,000 residents. Sonoma County's adjusted case rate is 8.2 cases per 100,000.

 "I don't think Contra Costa is too far behind. I think we're gonna see things opening up there very soon as well and with that, I think some new optimism and some new opportunities," said Baiter.

Sonoma County is a key factor in the Bay Area's tourism industry. 

"Wine Country is a crucial part of visiting the Bay Area and we know that one out of four visitors to San Francisco, for example, do come up to the wine country whether it's Napa or Sonoma," said Tim Zahner of the Sonoma Valley Visitor's Bureau.

Nonetheless, preparations are already under way for reopening. "I think we're ready to go," said Zahner.