Long Beach, News

LA County enters yellow tier, allowing for looser restrictions and higher capacities

After moving out of the purple tier just two months ago, Los Angeles County will progress into the yellow tier Thursday, indicating minimal risk under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

According to a press release from public health officials, the county’s overall test positivity rate has dropped from 0.9% to 0.7%. and “from 1.9 new cases per 100,000 people to 1.6 new cases per 100,000.” In total, LA County has seen 1,234,202 positive cases and 23,930 coronavirus-related deaths, with Long Beach comprising 52,954 positive cases and 931 deaths.

At this time, much of the state remains in the orange tier as just seven counties have made it to blueprint’s final stage. This step comes just over a month from when Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to reopen the state on June 15 if vaccine supply is sufficient for residents 16 years and older and if hospitalization rates are low.

Blueprint for a Safer Economy
Much of California remains in the orange tier under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, though seven counties have progressed into the yellow. Credit: covid19.ca.gov

Under the yellow tier guidelines, most indoor businesses can reopen with modifications and increase their capacities from the orange tier restrictions.

Outdoor gatherings are now permitted with up to 100 participants, and though indoor gatherings are discouraged, they are permitted with up to 50 people.

Restaurants and breweries can open indoors at 50% capacity, and bars and wineries must remain at 25% capacity. However, their capacities can increase to 75% and 37.5% respectively if all patrons can show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or full vaccination, per the blueprint.

Schools can fully reopen for in-person instruction, and institutions of higher education can hold indoor lectures and student gatherings at 50% capacity. Per the blueprint, “some courses conducted in certain indoor settings, like labs and studio arts, may be open at regular capacity,” though activities are still suggested to be held virtually when possible.

This means Long Beach State is officially allowed to return to in-person instruction at 50% capacity, something both President Jane Close Conoley and California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro predicted for the fall 2021 semester.

Also at 50% capacity, places of worship and funeral homes can operate indoors, and weddings and cultural ceremonies can be held indoors.

Family entertainment centers, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers can operate at 50% capacity but may increase to 75% if all guests show proof of a negative test or full vaccination.

Live performances, live theaters, fairs and amusement parks are open to in-state attendees only at limited capacities.

The city of Long Beach announced in a public safety alert Wednesday that all residents ages 16 and up can now receive the vaccine without an appointment, free of charge and with no health insurance needed.

In a campus-wide email Tuesday, CSULB notified members the Beach community that this is the last week to schedule an appointment for their first dose as the spring 2021 semester comes to an end. Anyone interested in receiving their vaccine from the Walter Pyramid vaccination site is encouraged to make their appointment as soon as possible.

“The vaccination clinic will then remain open only to administer the required second dose before pausing until early August,” the email said. “Since it is likely that a COVID-19 vaccination will be required for this fall, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of the convenience of the campus clinic now before the summer hiatus.”

Appointments can be made through CSULB’s Single Sign-On portal. More information on tier restrictions is available at the state’s blueprint website.

Julia Terbeche contributed to this story.

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