Due to a recent resurgence of the coronavirus in Contra Costa County, the California Department of Public Health moved the region back into the red tier of its four-tier color-coded pandemic measurement system on Tuesday.
Set to officially go into effect on Friday, the move will restore safety requirements aimed at reducing the spread of the virus such as limiting indoor business activities and prohibiting public gatherings.
“The most critical way to protect against COVID-19 is to wear a face covering whenever you are near people who do not live with you, and whenever you go in a building that is not your home,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa health officer. “Face coverings help prevent people who do not know they are infected from spreading the virus to others. My mask protects you. Your mask protects me. Masks also provide some direct protection for the wearer.”
Contra Costa County was placed in the state's less restrictive orange tier on Oct. 27, however it has officially been downgraded due to a sharp increase in the number of new cases per capita.
According to county Health Services, on Tuesday the seven-day average, per capita number of new cases was 5.3 in Contra Costa, higher than permitted for counties in the orange tier for two consecutive weeks.
Other troublesome data released by the county shows 46 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 on Nov. 8 alone, the highest one-day total since September.
Set to go into effect on Friday (Nov. 13), health officials said the new designation will add the following safety requirements for businesses and individuals:
* Retail stores that operate indoors must scale back their maximum occupancy to 50% or 100 people, whichever is lower.
* Indoor shopping malls must reduce their occupancy and reduce the occupancy of food courts to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
* Office workspaces must operate remotely.
* Higher education institutions must keep indoor lectures and student gatherings to 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
* Gyms and fitness centers must scale back their indoor occupancies to 10%.
* Communal indoor pools must close.
* Indoor family entertainment centers, such as bowling alleys, must close their indoor operations. Amusement parks cannot operate.
* Most live outdoor theatrical, musical or artistic performances are prohibited.
County health officials added that the current tier change does not affect the ability of schools to reopen for in-person learning.