Today the State announced that Alameda County is in the Orange Tier of the color-coded four-tier Blueprint for a Safer Economy because it has met the State’s metrics for the Tier for at least two weeks. Reaching the Orange Tier is a result of decreasing case and positivity rates due, in large part, to the sacrifices made by the County’s residents and businesses, and their adherence to Health Officer Orders and guidance. We have collectively slowed the spread of COVID-19, and need to continue wearing face coverings, staying six feet away from each other, washing hands frequently and staying home when sick.
The State allows counties in the Orange Tier to open additional sectors with restrictions, while emphasizing that Local Health Officers may take a more measured approach. With reopening across California and rising COVID-19 rates in other parts of the United States, Alameda County must continue to proceed slowly to avoid another surge in cases. As of today, there are no Orange Tier activities permitted in Alameda County.
Although not yet ready to allow Orange Tier activities, Alameda County has reopened several businesses and activities allowed under the Red Tier, including indoor nail salon services (9/25) and gyms, indoor personal services, indoor museums, and hotels for leisure travel (10/9). Starting today, October 13, elementary students may begin returning to classrooms if their schools are ready. For the list of activities that are currently open and not open in Alameda County, visit: https://covid-19.acgov.org/sip.page.
Alameda County is preparing to update the local Health Officer Orders to permit additional activities during the week of October 26. These activities are currently allowed by the State for counties in the Red Tier and will include:
- Indoor dining up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
- Indoor worship services up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
- Indoor theaters up to 25% capacity or less than 100 people, whichever is less
- Expansion of indoor retail and malls at up to 50% of capacity and permitting limited food courts
Beginning Friday, October 16, 2020 Alameda County will also permit additional outdoor activities, including playgrounds that follow the State’s guidance. Playgrounds pose a risk of spreading COVID-19 because they have high-touch surfaces and involve gathering and mixing of households. Playgrounds also may not be regularly monitored to ensure measures like physical distancing and face coverings are enforced. Adults supervising children and playground operators should review and follow the State’s recommendations closely.
We will use the coming weeks to monitor the impact of students returning to school and the additional activities opened in Alameda County to determine which, if any, additional activities may be considered for opening. This approach is necessary because slower reopening should help reduce the risk of a surge resulting in hospitalizations and deaths.
“We are glad to see improving case rates and decreasing test positivity, including among our communities of color, but we caution residents that cases can rise very quickly, as we saw during the summer surge,” said Dr. Nicholas Moss, Alameda County Interim Health Officer. “Especially with flu season coming, if we see spikes in COVID-19 cases and a rise in hospitalizations, we will take action to limit the spread and protect public health including resuming restrictions if needed.”
Steps to reduce the chances of becoming sick with the flu are the same as those to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and include: wearing a mask, keeping at least six feet of physical distance from anyone you don’t live with, limiting mixing with people outside your household, and washing your hands regularly.