SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco, Santa Clara and Napa counties are in the red.
"It's a new day," Mayor London Breed said on Tuesday standing at San Francisco's Pier 39.
The iconic shot with Alcatraz and the beautiful bay in the background is typically a spot for tourists, Breed pointed out, but it can also be a popular destination for locals too, as she highlighted great places to eat, drink coffee and have a "staycation" right in the city.
Breed was able to make that joyous proclamation -- and a total of 15 other California counties could, too -- because the state Department of Health downgraded San Francisco from the purple tier, down to the red tier.
Two other Bay Area counties - Napa and Santa Clara - also got lifted into the red tier.
The state said that El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, and San Luis Obispo counties also moved in the red on Tuesday. They joined Humboldt, Marin, San Mateo, Shasta, and Yolo counties, which made the move into the red tier last week. Other northern California counties were also in the red, bringing the total number of counties in the red to 16.
Forty are still in the purple tier and two counties are in the orange tier.
In the red tier, restaurants can open indoors at 25% capacity and shopping centers can reopen at 50% capacity, for example.
"I'm excited," Breed said, noting that pretty soon, San Francisco would also be in the orange tier.
Under the state's guidelines, in order to move into the red tier, counties must have fewer than seven new cases of COVID for every 100,000 residents.
Both Breed and Dr. Grant Colfax said that there was still a long way to go in terms of emerging from the pandemic, but they noted the dropping case numbers and the availability of a third vaccine to help San Francisco administer up to 10,000 vaccines a day.
To date, Breed said 22% of San Franciscans over the age of 16 have now been vaccinated against COVID.
Muni drivers, teachers and restaurant workers are among those now eligible to get vaccinated as well, the mayor said.
Officials also announced that San Francisco's curfew was lifted meaning that people can now eat outside until past 10 p.m.
Plus, since museums can now open with restrictions, the DeYoung Museum is preparing to open to the general public on Saturday for the first time in three months.
In the South Bay, Santa Clara County's public health officer Dr. Sara Cody reminded, "Just because the state’s framework may allow an activity; it does not mean that it is safe."
Cody said indoors remains risky for older residents with chronic health conditions and for those who have not yet received a vaccine.
The less-restricted tier means the resumption of indoor dining in the county for the first time since November. Gyms can also return to indoor operations at 10% capacity. The county’s mandatory travel quarantine will also be lifted.
The move comes after a false start last October when Santa Clara County health officials allowed dining indoors only to quickly rollback the order in November when COVID cases spiked.
The reversal wreaked havoc on businesses like Vintage Wine Bar on San Jose’s Santana Row, which was already dealing with the shutdown back in March of 2020.
"It's hard to kind of get into a rhythm of opening and growing and ramping back up and all of a sudden it comes to a screeching halt," said Joselyn Plaucke, a wine buyer for Vintage Wine Bar in San Jose.
At neighboring Amber India, the owner said that he has begun renovations to give the restaurant a fresh look and expresses concern about an uncertain future if work from home continues.
"They have to come eventually probably by the end of this year. All that has to open. The convention center has to open. If they don’t come back, then we will have limited guests coming back," said Vijay Viest.
The health department reports there has been a total of 111,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and just under 1,800 deaths attributed to COVID.
Cody's advice to county residents is to continue to gather where there is plenty of ventilation, keep your distance from others, and get vaccinated with it’s your turn to do so.
KTVU's Andre Senior contributed to this report.