Gyms, indoor restaurants, movie theaters can open in Contra Costa County

Thanks to lower death and hospitalization numbers because of COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage parlors and places of worship may now open with restrictions in the county, health officers announced on Tuesday.

The restrictions for places of worship, restaurants and movie theaters are that they must be operated at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.

Gyms can open indoors at 10% capacity. 

All personal care services, including massage, can move indoors. 

Indoor shopping malls can operate at 50% maximum capacity, instead of 25%. 

Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction on Oct. 13 if the county remains the red tier for two more weeks. Currently, elementary schools can apply for a waiver from the health officer to reopen.

In order to move into the red tier, Contra Costa County had to see average case rates drop below 7 per 100,000 people and testing positivity rates dip below 8%. For the past two weeks, Contra Costa has met those benchmarks.

As of Tuesday, the case rate was 6.7 per 100,000 people and the testing positivity rate was 3.7%.

Dr. Chris Farnitano noted that Contra Costa continued to see its COVID numbers improve or remain steady even after the Labor Day weekend, suggesting fewer people engaged in risky behaviors like large social gatherings compared to the previous holiday weekends.

Health officials caution that COVID is still circulating in the community and people should continue to take all the same precautions health officials have been advising for months: wear face coverings in public, maintain physical distancing, wash hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick.

All of the Bay Area is now in the "substantial" red tier, except for San Francisco, which is in the orange tier of "moderate." That means that San Francisco can allow for about twice the capacity in its restaurants and gyms than those in the red tier.