County’s Red Tier signals more reopenings, fewer restrictions

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY—The drop in both the number of Contra Costa County’s coronavirus cases and the percentage of positive tests has moved the county to the Red Tier, resulting in health officials loosening restrictions across a wider spectrum of social settings.

The county’s positivity rate is now at 3.7 percent. Red Tier, or “substantial,” is the third highest of the state’s four color-coded reopening tiers. The status means the following sectors can reopen with modifications:
Places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can operate indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less.

  • Gyms can reopen indoors at 10 percent capacity.All personal care services, including massage, can move indoors.
  • Indoor shopping malls can operate at 50 percent occupancy (instead of 25). Food courts can also open following the state’s guidelines for restaurants.
  • Indoor retail stores can now operate at 50 percent capacity (instead of 25).
  • For some businesses, like indoor movie theatres, this will be the first time they are opening in any form since health officials imposed the strict shelter in place order last spring.
  • Closures and/or tight restrictions remain in effect for the following sectors:
  • Bars, brewpubs, breweries, pubs and craft distilleries.
  • Offices for non-critical infrastructure sectors.
  • Indoor playgrounds, including bounce centers, ball pits and laser tag.
  • Public events and gatherings such as nightclubs, convention centers, concerts and live audience sports.
  • Recreational team sports.
  • Saunas and steam rooms.
  • Theme parks and festivals.

For the younger sect, the clearest sign of progress was the simple act of enjoying turns on the swings, climbing the jungle gyms and going down slides at playgrounds in local parks.
After Concord Public Works staff inspected and prepared all playgrounds in early October, they installed new signage indicating usage rules designed to keep people safe from the spread of COVID-19 in Concord’s 19 parks. According to Clayton Mayor Julie Pierce, all city parks and play equipment are fully open for use, and signs remind visitors of the rules. In both cities, parents and caregivers are responsible for protecting their children and themselves.

Rules in Concord include:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Maintain distance.
  • No food or drink.
  • Wash hands. (Bring your own sanitizer.)
  • Know when to stay home. (If ill or particularly vulnerable to COVID.)
  • Share the space. (Wait your turn; let others have a turn.)
  • The city is asking all playground visitors to “Stay safe and play safe.”

Related story: Red Tier classification changes the way forward for Concord gymnastics center