California COVID-19 tiers: Marin is the last Bay Area county not on total lockdown

Wayne Freedman Image
ByWayne Freedman KGO logo
Tuesday, December 1, 2020
All Bay Area in most restrictive purple tier except 1 county
Marin County remains the only Bay Area county in the red tier Monday after SF and San Mateo counties moved to the purple tier over the weekend due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. The only question now: How long will the North Bay county stay there?

MARIN, Calif. (KGO) -- Marin remains the only Bay Area county in the red tier Monday after San Francisco and San Mateo counties moved to the most restrictive purple tier over the weekend. The only question now: How long will the county stay there?

There is a large clock near the entrance at Fitness SF in Corte Madera. As that clock counts down, the workouts at the gym speed up because, at the end of the hour, everyone in the gym leaves.

"Almost a Cinderella story," suggested manager Ryan Davis.

That shift change is a byproduct of living in the only Bay Area county to remain in the red tier of California's reopening framework, meaning people can still work out indoors at 10% capacity. Demand makes reservations a necessity. Demand for workout space has become so high that they recycle the customers every hour.

MAP: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window

"It is definitely harder with the time constraints," said instructor Toni Dee, who took the hour to squeeze in a workout of her own.

Marin County may still be in the red tier because it tests twice as many people per capita as the state average, which helps to identify and contain infections early. Still, Marin added 58 new cases on Sunday and is slowly creeping to the purple tier.

"This is faint praise," said Marin County's Health Director, Dr. Matt. Willis. "It is nothing to be proud of. We're being graded on a curve."

RELATED: Here's how close your county is to changing tiers in California's reopening phases

"It's probably because we have a lot of old people who follow the rules," suggested Meg Valentine, eating lunch with her husband, Les Nisbet, on Fourth Street on Monday.

This was only the second time since March that they have had a meal away from home. Economics play a role in Marin's relative health, they think.

"We can afford to stay home because other people have to get out to work," said Les.

At the Royal Ground, Mathilda Chan won't let customers in to sit down, no matter what the guidelines say.

"No can do! I am not doing this only for myself but for our community as a whole," Chan said.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom considers reinstating stay-at-home order for most of California if COVID-19 trends continue

"If these trends continue, we're going to have to take much more dramatic, arguably drastic action," Newsom said, including "the potential for a stay-at-home order for those regions in purple."

There is another concern that comes with the red tier. Marin residents worry the red's lesser restrictions may attract people from purple regions to come here.

At Fitness SF, Ryan Davis has already received inquiries from club members in the city. "If they support us, we want to support them."

Still, none of those members will gain entrance without filling out a questionnaire and getting a temperature check. And, they will still have only one hour to work out before the next group comes in.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here