3 Bay Area counties move to 'red' tier of reopening; here's what happens next

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
3 Bay Area counties move to 'red' tier of reopening
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Out of the purple and into the red. On Tuesday, Alameda, San Mateo, and Solano counties moved into a lower risk COVID-19 transmission category.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Out of the purple and into the red. On Tuesday, Alameda, San Mateo, and Solano Counties moved into a lower risk COVID-19 transmission category.

Only two Bay Area counties, Sonoma and Contra Costa, remain in the purple tier, which is the most restrictive tier in the state system.

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"Good news all around, but really a reminder that despite seeing steady downward trajectory, that we cannot drop our guard," said California Health and Human Services Secretary, Dr. Mark Ghaly.

Dr. Ghaly says there are no early signs of increased transmission because of reopenings, but the numbers could always change.

"I will reserve final judgment for a couple more weeks until we really see how Labor Day data... impact those numbers across the state"

Despite graduating to the red category, Alameda County put out a statement that says, there will be no changes to permitted or prohibited activities. The county will use the next two weeks to ensure their numbers remain stable.

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San Mateo County is taking a different approach.

"Hallelujah," said Supervisor David Canepa.

"We're in a very good mood," exclaimed Supervisor Don Horsley.

The Supervisors were celebrating San Mateo County's new red tier status, which means many businesses can reopen immediately.

"This is a big deal. Unemployment in my district is extraordinarily high, so this is going to bring a lot of relief to a lot of people," said Canepa.

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"Schools will be able to reopen within two weeks," said Horsley, who added, "I think that really is important to parents and it really is important to kids as well."

"All businesses can immediately reopen," said Solano County health officer, Dr. Bela Matyas, who explained that businesses must still operate within sector guidelines.

"The big changes are increased capacity for retail and the resumption of indoor for most other sectors that have been forced either to be closed or operate outdoors only," he said. "For example, our mall could increase the number of people that are allowed to go into the mall to 50% of its capacity from 25%."

San Francisco's numbers have been improving, but California's Department of Public Health says the City and County will remain in the red for now instead of moving onto the orange tier.

According to the city's COVID command center, a data discrepancy was identified between Aug. 30 and Sept. 5, which impacts whether that time period was red or orange. The state is working to resolve the discrepancy, and until then San Francisco will have to wait in the red.

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