County Health Officer issues related, new orders and strong recommendations

County of Orange logoToday, the County of Orange moved from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier as a part of the Governor Newsom’s Blue Print for a Safer Economy.  This allows certain business sectors to re-open immediately and businesses to expand their operations with certain restrictions. Additionally, County Health Officer Dr. Clayton Chau has issued related new Orders and Strong Recommendations, which also include seasonal flu vaccination for certain county residents and visitors. Access the document in its entirely here.

A listing of some of the activities and businesses now re-opened and/or expanded today are as follows:

  • Restaurants
    • May re-open for indoor dining with modifications
    • Capacity must be limited to 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is less
    • Must close every night by 10 p.m.
  • Places of Worship
    • May re-open indoors with modifications
    • Indoor activities must be limited to 25 percent of capacity or 100 people, whichever is less
  • Shopping Centers
    • May re-open with modifications
    • Indoor capacity must be limited to 50 percent for shopping malls, destination shopping centers, and swap meets
    • Common areas are closed
    • Reduced capacity shopping center food courts (see Restaurants guidelines for more details)
  • Retail
    • May re-open with modifications
    • Retail capacity must be limited to 50 percent
  • Personal Care Services (nail salons, body waxing, tattoo parlors, piercing studios, skin care & cosmetology, and massage services)
    • May re-open indoors with modifications
  • Movie Theaters
    • May re-open with modifications
    • Capacity must be limited to 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is less
  • Family Entertainment Centers
    • May re-open outdoor only with modifications for activities such as go-kart racing, mini golf, and batting cages
  • Wineries
    • May be open outdoors only with modifications

Orange County residents may search for a business or activity type by visiting and typing in “Orange” in the County field, entering the business or activity type, and clicking, “GET LATEST STATUS.”

“Today, Orange County takes another step in the right direction in our fight against COVID-19. As we move into the state’s less stringent “red tier” designation, the restrictions on our business sectors will be significantly relaxed,” said Chairwoman Michelle Steel, Second District. “With our continued hard work, I am confident that we will continue trending in the right direction and move into the Orange tier in the not too distant future. The County of Orange can’t get there without everyone’s help and participation in observing health guidelines.”

new blueprint for business sector re-opening was unveiled by Governor Newsom on August 28, 2020, which includes a color-coded, tiered system that will use two metrics to measure the novel coronavirus: spread rate and test positivity percentage.

The tiers are designated by four colors: purple (widespread), red (substantial), orange (moderate) and yellow (minimal with the lowest restrictions).

“As Orange County moves along the State’s new tier system, we must all continue to be vigilant and not let our guard down,” said Vice Chairman Andrew Do, First District. “Adhering to social distancing guidelines, good hygiene, and using face coverings, will ensure that we continue to trend in a positive direction so we can reopen more business sectors while ensuring the safety and security of all of Orange County residents.”

Under the new State monitoring guidelines, Orange County is now the Red Tier, the second-most restrictive tier of all the four tiers in the State.

Counties must remain at each tier for a minimum of 21 days. The State’s new website,, will track the metrics, show an interactive map and list business sectors open by each county.

“Orange County has been hitting the marks from the State but we haven’t been getting the credit we’re due and that’s been a source of frustration for us,” said Supervisor Don Wagner, Third District. “The State should give up on their failed phasing systems and return local control to the counties. Trust local leaders, businesses, and schools to reopen safely.”

The State’s tiers systems are based on two metrics: case rate and the percentage of positive tests. For Orange County to remain in the Red Tier, we will have to report between four to seven COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per day and a positivity rate between five percent to eight percent.

“It’s important that Orange County continues to make strides in the right direction,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “We know that many are tired of hearing it, but we see the fruits of people wearing face-coverings, social distancing and ensuring proper hygiene. It’s important to continue to do your part.”

For the Orange County to transition to the Orange Tier – Tier Three – the County will have to report between 1-3.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per day and a positivity rate between 2-4.9 percent for at least two consecutive weeks. This is in addition remaining on the Orange Tier for a minimum of 21 days.

“It is my goal that the County continues to take all the right measures and precautions to ensure the health and safety of our residents, while at the same time, allowing for the safe reopening our economy so Orange County can get back to business,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “This has been a challenging time for so many people in my district, including many of our small businesses. It’s time for us to move forward and get our economy back on track so Orange County can once again thrive and come back even stronger than before,” she said.

The Orange County school waiver process will not be impacted by the Governor’s new system. Schools can re-open on a widespread basis (without a waiver) once a county is in the red tier for at least two weeks. There will then be a 14-day wait for all K-12 schools in Orange County to be eligible for re-opening in-person education, which will put us on track for September 22, 2020. To view the current list of schools that have applied for a waiver and their respective statuses, please click here.