El Dorado County moves to less restrictive orange tier; Officials urge caution | TahoeDailyTribune.com

El Dorado County moves to less restrictive orange tier; Officials urge caution

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — El Dorado County has moved into the “Orange” tier of the state’s COVID-19 framework for reopening, officials announced Tuesday.

Public Health Officer Dr. Nancy Williams said in a statement that Gov. Gavin Newsom officially moved the county from the red “substantial” tier based on coronavirus case rate and test positivity percentage, “allowing many businesses to reopen for the first time since March and others to expand their operations, which is very good news for our economy. However, as I have stated before, just because something is allowed does not necessarily make it safe.”

The orange tier means that indoor businesses operations are open, but all with modifications. This tier allows for bars to be open outdoors if they don’t serve food. Wineries are allowed to open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Cardrooms can be open indoors at 25% capacity. Dine-in restaurants can be open indoors with 50% capacity or 200 people. Indoor gyms can be open with 25% capacity and indoor pools are allowed to open.

For higher education indoor lectures can be at 50% capacity or 200 people while K-12 schools are open for in-person instruction and libraries are also allowed to fully open. Movie theaters are able to open with 50% capacity or 200 people. Churches and other places of worship can be open at 50% capacity or 200 people. Retailers and shopping malls can fully open.

Williams said that even though more business sectors are expanding and activities are open, the best way to prevent the county from regressing means doing the same things that got the restrictions relaxed.

“Moving to the orange tier should not be seen as a green light to stop wearing a face covering, keeping at least 6 feet from others, minimizing mixing with non-household members and washing your hands regularly,” Williams said. “It’s critical, with this positive move forward, to continue to exercise our personal responsibility to ensure we keep our case level and test positivity rate low.”

A county moves into the orange tier if it has a case rate less than four per 100,000 residents and a test positivity of less than five. The state records El Dorado County’s population as 193,098. For the most recent week that was assessed, the county had a 1.5 per 100,000 case rate and 1.4% test positivity.

The most recently calculated test positivity is in the least restrictive Yellow tier, but counties are assigned to the most restrictive tier if its metrics fall into more than one.

“As positive as this news is, it requires our continued efforts to stay in the orange tier and move toward yellow,” Williams said in the release. “I urge everyone to consider this expansion into the orange tier as allowing the option to do more, but not necessarily a requirement to do so. Even in the orange tier, we still need to take the same personal precautions we have been to keep our county healthy.”

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