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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – The bulk of California’s 58 counties remain in the most restrictive purple tier. But Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday there are some signs of hope.

The weekly number of people testing positive for COVID-19 is dropping dramatically.

“3.5%, 7 day positivity rate. We were at 11.4% a month ago,” Newsom said.

The governor says if this trend continues, most California counties should be out of the purple tier by this time next month.

“We will see counties move not just purple to red, but more red to orange. And I anticipate based on the numbers already in orange, you will see many more in that yellow tier as well, which is the most permissive of the tiers,” Newsom said.  

A move from the purple to red tier gives counties the opportunity to have restaurants open indoors at 25% capacity. Additionally in the tier:

  • Retail shops and malls can increase indoor capacity to 50%;
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums can open indoors at 25% capacity;
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 10% capacity; and
  • Movie theaters can open indoors at 25% capacity.

But Newsom cautioned that it’s only if cases continue to drop.  He’s concerned that might not happen due to an increasing number of COVID-19 variants in the state.

“We have 189 UK variants in the state. Two South African variants, no Brazilian variants. But over 1,834 West Coast variants,” he said.

So, there aren’t any guarantees from the governor, but he says if the trends continue and the cases continue to drop, we could see some movement out of the purple tier as early as next week.