Santa Rosa, CA – March 12, 2021 – Sonoma County, for the first time, will be moving out of the most restrictive purple tier within California's four-tier, color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy beginning on Sunday, March 14. This change is a result of the state's decision to adjust the minimum case rate requirement for transition to red from 7 to 10 per 100,000 once California finished administering 2 million vaccine doses in the state's 400 zip codes that have been most disproportionately impacted by the virus.
With the adjustment of the requirements for the red tier, the state credited Sonoma County with two weeks of maintaining less than 10 cases per 100,000. Based on this decision, Sonoma County is being allowed to enter the red tier at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, March 14.
"The move to the red tier is the most hopeful news that our community has received in a long time," said Supervisor Lynda Hopkins, Chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors. "But now is not the time to let up. We need to continue to be smart and safe. That means wearing our masks, avoiding large gatherings and, most of all, getting tested. Getting tested is one of the best tools we have at our disposal to control the spread of the virus and to reopen our economy."
Moving from the purple tier into the red tier for the county means:
- Restaurants are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Retail establishments are allowed to open indoors at 50 percent capacity.
- Movie theaters are allowed to open indoors with 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
- Gyms are allowed to open indoors with 10 percent capacity.
- Museums, zoos, and aquariums can open indoor activities at 25 percent capacity.
- Breweries, wineries and distilleries that do not serve meals may open outdoors only with modifications. The modifications include ensuring that patrons have reservations and patrons observe a 90-minute time limit. Service for on-site consumption must end by 8:00 p.m.
- Bars that do not serve meals remain closed in the Purple (widespread) and Red (substantial) tiers.
"We are pleased at the progress that our county is making, and we thank everyone who is doing their part to fight COVID-19," said Sonoma County Health Officer, Sundari Mase. "From the staff providing vaccinations and testing, to the community organizations providing outreach and education, to every individual who is choosing to wear face coverings and practice social distancing, each of you is making a difference."
Additionally, once the County is in the red tier, schools in all grades (TK-12) may reopen after they have posted their COVID-19 Safety Plan (CSP) to their website homepage at least five days prior to starting in-person instruction. Schools must adhere to the California Department of Public Health's (CDPH) COVID-19 and Reopening In-Person Instruction Framework. Modifications for campus instruction include cohorting (creating stable groups of students that stay together and do not mix), implementing distancing inside and outside the classroom, ensuring sufficient ventilation, promoting health hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, screening for symptoms and exposure, and instituting measures to be taken in the case of a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19. Once open, schools will not need to reclose if the County returns to the purple tier.
Meanwhile, 28 percent of Sonoma County's eligible (16 years and older) residents have now received at least one dose of vaccine while nearly 12 percent have been fully vaccinated in Sonoma County has also doubled the number of testing opportunities available in the most impacted communities.
In addition to the state changes that qualify the County for the red tier, the state of California announced plans for additional metric adjustments for reopening. The planned adjustments for the orange tier are also tied to state goals for vaccination thresholds for residents in the communities hardest hit by COVID—those that fall into the lowest quartile on the Healthy Places Index. When 4 million doses have been distributed to these communities, a case rate of 6 or less per 100,000 qualifies for counties to move from the red to the orange tier.
For more information the County of Sonoma's COVID-19 response and vaccine rollout, go to socoemergency.org.