LOS ANGELES (KABC) — Los Angeles and Orange counties are now eligible to advance into the less-restrictive orange tier in the state’s reopening framework, allowing for businesses to expand capacity.
According to data from the California Department of Public Health released Tuesday, both counties are eligible to move out of the red tier and into the orange tier. The changes are expected to officially take effect on Wednesday.
The move means even more people will be able to venture out to places like Disneyland, the OC Fair and Angel Stadium and Universal Studios Hollywood when they reopen.
Under the orange tier, restaurants, movie theaters and churches will also be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%. Gyms would be able to expand to 25% capacity.
Retail would jump from 50% to no limit, and bars that don’t serve food would finally get to open.
These changes come as the state considers how equitable vaccine distribution has been as it decides how much counties should be allowed to reopen. To put it simply, as California administers more vaccine to ZIP codes hit hardest by the pandemic, it will become a bit easier for counties to move into less-restrictive tiers.
“The vaccine rollout has been accelerating so quickly lately, that as long as there’s no variant that gets around it, I think hopefully fingers crossed, things will keep opening more and more up,” said Jeremy Carney of Coto De Caza.
Earlier this month, Orange County jumped from the most-restrictive purple tier to red as cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations dropped around the region.
But even as COVID-19 case rates improve, experts warn the risk remains. Some East Coast communities that have lifted restrictions too quickly have seen rates start to increase again.
“I am definitely concerned right now with what we’re seeing on the East Coast and other European countries,” said Dr. Jose Mayorga, executive director of UCI Health’s family health center.
“Everything travels west. We know we will be face with the potential of an increase in cases.”
“So it is absolutely a race against time for us to vaccinate ourselves against this virus.”
The county is preparing to open another super POD – point of distribution – vaccine site at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa Wednesday, a day before eligibility statewide opens up to people ages 50 and up.
The extra site will be needed even more when eligibility opens up to people 16 and older on April 15.
“Our hope is that in the next few weeks, we see much more supply not only here in Anaheim, but across Orange County that will help us vaccinate those large numbers that we’re looking at over the next few weeks,” said Mike Lyster, spokesman for the city of Anaheim.
Anaheim continues to host vaccine sites at Disneyland and the Convention Center, helping Orange County administer over 1.4 million doses to date. That number includes vaccines given at hospitals, pharmacies, and the smaller mobile clinics.
On top of all the major steps being taken this week, baseball returns to Angel Stadium Thursday with a limited number of fans.
“I’m excited,” said Katlyn McCormick of Victorville. “I’m ready for everything to start opening up and somewhat go back to normal.”Tuesday, March 30, 2021 4:25PM