Back to red: Coronavirus restrictions return to Contra Costa County

Contra Costa County is bringing back some of its coronavirus restrictions because of a spike in cases and hospitalizations.

Starting Friday, indoor retail must be capped at 50 percent capacity. Gyms and fitness centers must limit use to 10 percent capacity. Indoor entertainment centers including amusement parks and bowling alleys must close. Indoor pools and bars that don't serve food must also close.

The latest 7-day average for COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa County was 5.3 daily cases per 100,000 people. Just a week ago it was 4.9 cases per 100,000.

On Saturday, there were 46 people hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest one-day total since September.

Earlier this week, the California Dept. of Public Health officially moved Contra Costa and ten other counties in the state to the "red tier, the second-most restrictive tier under state COVID-19 guidelines.

By state health department definition, the red tier means cases in the community are "widespread." 

RELATED: Bay Area guide to COVID-19 rules: What each county allows

Contra Costa County Health Office Dr. Crhis Farnitano spoke about the county's contact-tracing efforts, and what they reveal.

"When we reach people, a lot of them don't know where their Covid came from. We're doing our contact tracing and it's helping, some. But people are out more, and when they're out more there are a lot more opportunities to get exposed to Covid," Farnitano said.

The owner of the Delta Bowl in Antioch, Ken Melton, said his business had been open for just 16 days, before having to shut down again at midnight on Friday. 

"It's very disappointing. It's sad," Melton said. "Sad for the customers and the community. Hopefully, this won't last too long and we can get back bowling."

Indoor dining is still allowed in Contra Costa County, but as of last week, restaurants must reduce the number of people inside to 25 percent capacity, down from 50 percent.

Movie theaters and indoor worshipping services must also reduce capacity to 25 percent or fewer than 100 people.

"We're still a few months away from a vaccine that's widely available," Dr. Farnitano said. "So we really need to do all we can to help minimize this winter surge - keep it as small and as brief as possible."

The shift to the red tied in Contra Costa County will not affect school reopenings, according to health officers. Outdoor playgrounds can also stay open.

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