Riverside County is now in the less restrictive red tier of the state’s COVID-19 reopening blueprint.
The move is based on the county’s steadily declining coronavirus cases (6.1 case rate), percentage of positive tests (3.3%) and health equity metric (3.7%).
This new tier, effective Wednesday, allows limited indoor dining, movie theaters, gym, museums and a few other businesses to open to patrons.
The switch was made Tuesday, March 16, around noon on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy website.
“We’ve waited a long time for more of our local businesses to increase operations or return to serving more customers indoors. Many businesses were negatively impacted beyond what we thought possible,” said Board Chair Karen Spiegel, Second District Supervisor. “Today’s news about moving into the red tier is a positive and hopeful sign of more great things to come. If we continue to work together, we can keep this momentum going. We can reopen safely and continue to see our numbers fall, if we all do our part to keep coronavirus at bay.”
Moving into the red tier also allows intermediate and high schools to return to in-person instruction with approved safety plans in place.
State officials modified the blueprint last week when the state reached a 2 million threshold for COVID vaccine doses administered in low- income communities hard-hit by the pandemic. The modification allowed counties to move more quickly through the blueprint’s four color-coded tiers.
A move to the red tier will allow for indoor dining and movie theaters at 25% capacity or 100 diners — whichever is fewer, as well as gyms operating at 10% capacity indoors, and museums, zoos and aquariums at 25% indoors.
Retail businesses in shopping centers can increase capacity from 25% to 50% in the red tier. School districts may reopen without seeking a waiver. Higher education institutions can also reopen to in-person, indoor instruction at 25% or 100 people — whichever is fewer.
Also, live outdoor events will allow for 20% capacity.
Riverside County will need to remain in the red tier for a minimum of three weeks and meet the orange tier metrics for two of those weeks before advancing further.
To continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 and advance into future reopening tiers, all residents are urged to get tested and wear a mask. Visit GetTested.ruhealth.org to make an appointment. Other testing options can be found online at: https://covid19.ca.gov/get-tested/.
A full list of what changes between tiers can be found at https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/.