RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Riverside County is moving back down to the most restrictive tier on California's reopening plan, which requires several types of businesses and places of worship to move outside.
The California Department of Public Health has moved Riverside County's classification back to the most restrictive ''purple tier'' under the governor's color-coded coronavirus de-regulation scheme.
"Our COVID-19 case rates remain elevated... and the state believes that additional time and adjudication will not rectify this," Riverside County's Public Health Officer, Dr. Cameron Kaiser, explained to the county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
Riverside County’s metrics include a 5.2 positivity rate and 9.1 case rate. While the positivity rate is within the red tier range, the case rate – cases per 100,000 people – is within the purple tier. Riverside County’s case rate is also worsened by the state’s upwards adjustment for not reaching the statewide median of PCR swab tests.
"What this means is that businesses and institutions affected by this change will have 72 hours to adjust and reduce their capacity or move outdoors as specified," Kaiser added.
Mykal, who lives in the area and has family in Riverside believes moving back to the purple tier is the best decision for now.
"We don't want to risk anybody getting sick and all the people with underlying health conditions, and my grandparents live in Riverside so I'd hate them to go out somewhere and everyone is close together, not social distancing so I think it's a good thing that we're staying with the outdoors only. I know it's inconsistent and everything, but the more we stay apart and stay inside, the faster we'll get through Covid," she said.
The purple tier limits indoor operations for many non-essential sectors, including restaurants. But spaces including retail stores, malls and libraries can be open with 25% capacity. All personal care services, such as hair salons and barbershops are able to do indoor operations, state officials said Tuesday, which wasn't the case prior to this new tiered framework.
The county will remain in the purple tier for three weeks, as stated in the state's framework.
With respect to schools, those who have already reopened in the red tier can remain open, but a school that has not yet opened may not. Instead, the waivers program will return to operation beginning Tuesday to begin accepting applications for school waivers.
Supervisor Karen Spiegel says the change equals a "nailing the coffin shut" on some operations.
FOX 11's Koco McAboy contributed to this report.