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Wednesday update: County moves to orange tier as vaccinations increase

SAN DIEGO — The county will move into the less-restrictive orange tier on the state’s coronavirus reopening system Wednesday.

The tier change announced Tuesday will allow restaurants, movie theaters and other attractions to operate indoors at a higher capacity. Live events, including sports and concerts, will also see an increase in the number of attendees allowed — 33% of capacity for in-state fans — and bars without food service can reopen outdoors.

A look at new guidelines under the orange tier on the state’s coronavirus reopening system.
Source: San Diego County

Family event centers, such as bowling alleys, can open at 50% instead of 25% if they show proof that all their guests have been vaccinated by asking to see vaccine cards, health officials said.

San Diego County posted a state-calculated adjusted case rate of 5.8 COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 residents in Tuesday’s update. The metric would’ve kept the county in the red tier if not for changes the state made to its assignment guidelines.

California reached its goal Tuesday of administering 4 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine to hard-hit communities, a milestone that led to the relaxing of thresholds for tier assignment.

“San Diego is officially moving into the orange tier, yet another significant step in our recovery from COVID-19,” Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher said. “The vaccine has given us a path to save lives, restore our economy, send our kids back to school and get our way of life back. The combination of a low case rate plus the state hitting vaccine milestones allows us to continue moving forward.”

Fletcher said the county will lift the 10 p.m. curfew that is in place for restaurants and bars beginning Wednesday.

New tier assignments were announced as Gov. Gavin Newsom revealed plans for California’s economy to fully reopen on June 15 if two criteria are met. Vaccine supply must be sufficient for residents 16 years and older and hospitalization rates need to remain stable and low.

Newsom said if the two criteria are met, the entire state will move into the new phase, which will allow for everyday activities and businesses to reopen. Masks will continue to be mandated across the state and testing or vaccination verification requirements will continue in certain settings.

Check back for updates on this developing story.