Contra Costa returns to Purple Tier as state’s Stay-at-Home order lifted

Contra Costa returns to Purple Tier as state’s Stay-at-Home order lifted
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—California lifted its Regional Stay-at-Home order on Monday. This returns Contra Costa and other counties to the previous color-coded system that determines the level of measures to be taken to guard against COVID-19 transmission. Contra Costa is now in the Purple tier.

The statewide stay-at-home order replaced the color-coded tier system in early December. Today’s action returns counties to the tier system.

County residents and businesses should continue to practice health safety measures and avoid risky activities.

ICU surge protection

The state’s order helped the region face the deadly surge in COVID-19 infections following the winter holidays. But per capita, the adjusted average number of new infections reported every day last week in Contra Costa was 46.2 – nearly seven times the threshold for the Purple Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

“Under no circumstances should anyone view the state action today as a reason to let down their guard.” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County health officer. “We have made progress, but we need to continue what we are doing to keep our families and communities safe. It is just common sense.”

The state lifted its order Monday morning, effective immediately.

Social distancing and masks still required

Health guidelines regarding physical distancing and use of face coverings outside the home remain in effect. Occupancy caps for indoor businesses and requirements limiting close-contact gatherings of people from different households also remain in effect. Check the state’s web page for industry-specific guidance.

Some significant changes resulting from Contra Costa’s return to the Purple Tier include:

  • Restaurants may offer outdoor dining, following the state health guidelines.
  • Hair salons, barber shops and personal services such as nail salons may reopen following state health guidelines.
  • Outdoor social gatherings involving 25 or fewer people, from three or fewer different households, are now permitted.
  • More information is available at

Slowing the transmission

The purpose of the state’s regional stay-at-home order was to slow COVID-19 transmission to protect intensive care unit (ICU) bed capacity from an overwhelming surge.

Contra Costa hospitals continue to see heavy use of ICU capacity. Of the county’s 163 beds, 137 were occupied on Saturday, including both COVID-19 patients and patients with other major health problems. All hospitals in the county remain on contingency care status and most elective surgeries continue to be postponed.

“Our county continues to experience a winter surge in COVID-19 transmission,” Dr. Farnitano said. “While we are making progress in vaccinating our most vulnerable residents, we are still weeks or months away from seeing the effects of immunization in our community.”

Contra Costa has kicked off a countywide drive to provide 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine by July 4. County residents older than 75 can now get a vaccination appointment by calling 1-833-829-2626 or using the Contra Costa Heath Services online request form at The county expects to extend vaccine eligibility to more people in coming weeks.