After months of coronavirus-forced closures, Sacramento County restaurants will be allowed to reopen their doors, theaters can begin screening movies again, and churches can congregate for in-person services.
The change comes after the county moved from the widespread (purple) tier and into the substantial (red) tier — part of California’s new model for COVID-19 reopenings. In the past two weeks, Sacramento County has recorded fewer than seven new cases per 100,000 residents and a test positivity rate below 5%, allowing the move into a less restrictive tier.
San Joaquin, Yolo and Butte counties also moved into the substantial tier, the state announced Tuesday.
Moving tiers means restaurants can reopen with a limited number of patrons — up to 25% capacity — dining indoors. It also means churches and movie theaters can allow 25% capacity, and gyms can reopen indoor workouts at 10% capacity.
After two weeks of being in the substantial tier, schools will also be allowed to open for some on-site classes. It’s unclear if local school districts will deviate from their distance learning plans for the new school year.
"Any county that became red today really has this two-week waiting period before schools can open, really to work with school districts, local communities to make that preparation as solid as possible, as well as to see where the trends go before opening does occur," state Health Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Tuesday.
Still, with holidays and cooler temperatures approaching, Sacramento County health officials worry a third surge in cases could happen unless residents take the COVID-19 safety guidelines seriously.
“If there is spread we start seeing the spike within one to two weeks,” county public health officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye told CapRadio last week. “We were watching after Labor Day, and so far we haven’t seen any significant increase. Our hope is that that will continue for Halloween as well.”
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