2 Bay Area counties join red tier: Here's what will change

Moving from the purple to the red tier means looser restrictions on indoor dining, movie theaters, gyms and more
SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- UPDATE, Feb. 23, 10:30 a.m.: Marin and San Mateo counties moved into the red tier Tuesday, according to the most recent state data. Per California guidelines, indoor dining, gyms and movie theaters could all reopen indoors at limited capacity. See below for more details.

As COVID-19 case rates continue to drop, two Bay Area counties -- Marin and San Mateo -- moved into the red tier Tuesday. Even more counties look poised to make the change next week.

If or when that happens, it means a host of changes for businesses, from restaurants to gyms to movie theaters.

When a county moves into the red tier...
  • Gyms and fitness studios can open indoors starting at 10% capacity

  • Restaurants can open indoors starting at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer

  • Movie theaters can reopen starting at 25% capacity

  • Retail stores can bump capacity up to 50%, including malls

  • Museums can open indoors at 25% capacity


Schools that haven't reopened for in-person learning already can also file plans to reopen once they're out of the purple tier for five days.

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

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But the red tier is still the state's second-most restrictive status. That means bars, theme parks and non-essential office buildings all have to stay closed. Professional sports also can't play with audiences. (For a full breakdown of what can open in every tier, click here.)

Counties can always move slower than the state's timeline, but they can't move faster. Both Marin and San Mateo have both decided they will be allowing all of the reopening changes listed above.

Next week could bring even more reopening changes tot he Bay Area. Napa, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties all look likely to move into the red tier as early as next Tuesday. That could change if the counties' COVID-19 case rates or test positivity spike.

INTERACTIVE: Here's the reopening status of every Bay Area county
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Editor's note: A previous version of this story indicated schools can reopen after being in the red tier for two weeks. It has been updated to reflect the state's most recent guidelines on reopening schools, which shorten that time frame to five days.

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