5 counties allowed to reopen more businesses, Gov. Gavin Newsom announces

ByAlix Martichoux KGO logo
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
5 counties allowed to reopen more businesses, Newsom says
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Five California counties, Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz, have all been downgraded from "purple" to "red." Here's what that means.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Gov. Gavin Newsom announced changes for five California counties amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic Tuesday.

Amador, Orange, Placer, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz were all changed from "purple" to "red" on the state's four-tier reopening classification. "Red" is the second-worst category, meaning there is still widespread COVID-19 transmission.

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

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Marin County was also expecting to be moved from the "purple" to "red" category, but the state opted to hold off and monitor the county's coronavirus trends for another week.

"The last thing we want to do is see a county move one week only to see the potential for backward movement again very soon," said Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.

The state plans to announce changes to the map every Tuesday as needed.

California saw 2,676 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, a number that continues to drop as weeks go on. The state's positivity rate also dropped to an average 3.8% over the past seven days, and hospitalizations are down 24% over the past two weeks.

The governor repeatedly implored Californians last week to avoid intermixing over the holiday weekend. He said progress on the four-tier reopening plan is contingent on keeping COVID-19 spread low, and it is up to people to make that happen.

"Three-day holiday weekends have not been advantageous in terms of the mitigation of the spread of this virus," said Newsom. "You look back at some seminal periods where we experienced a larger spread and a large surge of transmissions. They tended to occur two to three weeks after, say, Fourth of July and other holiday weekends.

"And as a consequence, we're very cautious in terms of our approach as we move forward."

But for many Californians, the coronavirus isn't top of mind Tuesday. Several massive wildfires are still burning around the state, and high winds threaten to only make things worse. PG&E shut off power to nearly 200,000 customers around the state in a PSPS, or Public Safety Power Shutoff. The utility hopes that by shutting off power in the windiest areas, they can avoid sparking new wildfires if power poles are blown over.

MORE: High fire danger triggers PG&E power shutoffs in Sonoma, Napa and Lake counties

The worst of the wind is expected to pass by Wednesday morning, at which point PG&E will inspect its lines for damage and start turning power back on.