Steady progress against virus prompts new guidelines

County of Marin logoWith its improving COVID-19 figuresMarin County is graduating from “red” to “orange” status within the State of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy effective today. This move allows some businesses to reopen for the first time, while others can expand their operating capacity.

On October 27, the Marin County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was notified that the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is moving the county from Tier 2 or “substantial risk” status to the less restrictive Tier 3 or “moderate risk” level. Fewer daily cases, a reduction in the proportion of positive tests among those who are tested, and progress in addressing the County’s lowest-income communities factored into the state’s determination. Marin’s high rate of testing combined with a measured approach to reopening has contributed to the move to orange status.

The primary changes allowed under the state order as Marin moves into Tier 3:

  • Allowed indoors at full capacity: retail establishments; indoor malls; libraries; office space (although continued telework is encouraged for all types of office work)
  • Allowed indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people (whichever is fewer): restaurants; museums; places of worship; movie theaters
  • Allowed indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer): gyms and fitness centers (and can utilize indoor pools); family entertainment centers; wineries; card rooms.
  • Allowed outdoors only: bars and breweries (no meal requirements).

A full list of changes to business sector guidelines is available at the Marin Recovers websiteAll open businesses must complete a COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan prior to reopening under Tier 3 restrictions. Guidance for the plan also is found on the Marin Recovers website at

On August 28, the state introduced its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a four-tier framework by which counties are measured for loosening and tightening restrictions on social activities and business operations. Marin was initially placed in Tier 1, or purple status, and moved to Tier 2 on September 15 as its COVID-19 case figures improved. Sectors of business can progressively open more operations with moves up the list toward the final stage, Tier 4. A county must spend at least 21 days in any tier before advancing to a less restrictive one. As Marin experienced earlier this year, counties would have to tighten back up if conditions worsen.

“We’ve all made sacrifices to get in front of this pandemic in Marin,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer. “This progress is a sign of what we can do. But it’s way too early to let up. Just last week, Marin reached 100 COVID-19 deaths. It’s important to rethink the traditions to gather during the holidays, especially as flu season arrives. Our collective actions over the next few weeks will decide if we can retain this level of reopening.”

With the transition to Tier 3 status, Marin Public Health issued a new risk reduction order, which replaces the shelter-in-place order of May 15. The new order aligns Marin’s restrictions with current State of California public health orders and guidelines.

Stay Informed

Visit the City of Novato COVID-19 webpage at to sign up for email or text message updates from the City, as well as for information on impacts to City services, City facility closures and cancelled and postponed events, what to do if you are feeling sick, and tips on how to reduce your risk of exposure.

Novato businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19, visit for a listing of resources including information regarding unemployment, disability and paid family leave benefits; small business loans and grants; tax assistance; non-profit support; as well as information on workplace health and safety.

Follow the latest COVID-19 surveillance figures in Marin County on the Marin HHS websiteRegister online to receive a daily COVID-19 update from Marin HHS.

For up-to-date information on what other local agencies are doing in response to COVID-19, please visit the following websites:

Novato Unified School District:
North Marin Water District:
Novato Sanitary District:
Marin Transit:
Golden Gate Transit: