LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles and Orange counties could get official word on moving to a less restrictive tier from the state as early as Tuesday, allowing more businesses to reopen with modifications.
Seven more California counties are set to advance from the most restrictive purple tier to the less restrictive red tier this week, according to Gov. Gavin Newsom during a coronavirus press briefing update on Monday.
The four tiers in the state's reopening system are yellow, orange, red and purple. Yellow indicates a minimal risk of spreading COVID-19 and allows most businesses to reopen indoor operations with safety measures in place. Purple indicates there is widespread transmission in the county and nearly all businesses have to keep indoor operations closed or severely limited.
To move from purple into the red tier, a county must maintain 4 to 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or a positivity rate between 5-8% for 14 consecutive days. As of Monday in Orange County, the case rate was 7.6 and the positivity rate was 3.9%.
The daily average testing-positivity rate over the past seven days dropped to about 3%.
In Los Angeles, positive COVID-19 cases have hit a record low.
"That’s actually the lowest it’s ever been since we’ve been offering testing in the community," said LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
"Testing is down, but community transmission is also down as well, and that drives a reduced demand for testing. Less people have symptoms, less people feel sick and less people feel like they’ve had an exposure," added Ferrer.
The move from the purple tier to red gives each county the authority to allow retail stores and malls to increase capacity to 50%. Museums and movie theaters can open at 25% capacity. After months of an indoor dining ban, restaurants can begin seating customers inside at 25% capacity. In addition, gyms could also move inside at 10% capacity.
"It’s been a tough year. We were forced to close, then open at limited capacity and move outdoors again," said Fit Body Boot Camp manager Chris Martinez.
The West Covina gym is in the process of moving business online to a virtual instruction model.
"It’s good news we are moving into another tier. It means more help for businesses that are still struggling," Martinez said.
To get more information on businesses reopening in your area you can view California’s reopening guidelines online.