San Francisco, Santa Clara, Marin counties move into orange tier

San Francisco, Santa Clara, and Marin counties moved into the less restrictive orange tier on Tuesday, joining San Mateo County already in that category.

The move to orange means more businesses can reopen for the first time and the ones that are already open can expand their capacity indoors.

For example, bars that don't also serve food can reopen outdoors; wineries and gyms can open up to 25% capacity; stadiums can reopen at 20% capacity, and theme parks at 15% capacity. 

Restaurants, theaters and museums can open at 50% capacity. 

Counties can shift to the orange tier if they have fewer than four new cases of covid for every 100,000 residents.

Other requirements to get to orange: COVID test positivity rates have to be low and vaccination rates must be high.

"And now that, you know, that more than half of our population have been vaccinated, at least with one dose, we have an added layer of protection, I think that adds confidence that we can do this," said Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis. "It's not too late to drop the ball here and so, we really need to maintain our vigilance."

Variants and spring break travel, of course, remain a concern.

But many medical professionals say that unlike six months ago, people have better defenses against the virus with the vaccine roll-out well underway.