LA County is entering the ‘yellow’ tier of coronavirus rules; here’s what that means

Los Angeles County entered the state’s least restrictive “yellow” tier of coronavirus restrictions today, which means that many LA County businesses will be allowed to increase capacity limits as soon as Thursday.

LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer said Tuesday that the county would prepare an updated health order by Wednesday which would go into effect by Thursday. Among other changes, it could allow for amusement parks, yoga studios, restaurants, aquariums and—for the first time—bars to expand indoor service.

A spokesperson for Long Beach, which has its own health department, said the city is still working on plans for the transition to the yellow tier and more information on local rules will be available later this week.

Long Beach has typically aligned its rules with LA County and Ferrer said yesterday that the county would be aligning “fairly significantly” with the state’s rules. Masks would still be required to be worn indoors in most instances.

“We do have a ways to go before we can say that we have a big enough of a level of community vaccination that we can go back to normal life without fear,” Ferrer said during Tuesday morning’s LA County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The county’s entry into the least restrictive tier of reopening comes just over a month before the state is expected to more fully reopen the economy on June 15 by dropping almost all restrictions.

The progress was praised by supervisors who were notified of the county’s move into the yellow tier during their Tuesday morning meeting by push alerts.

“It’s hard to believe with all we’ve been through the last year, with all the loss that’s occurred, that we’re finally almost to the end, said Supervisor Janice Hahn, who represents the county’s 4th district, which includes Long Beach.

Although Long Beach and county officials could set stricter regulations, here are some of state’s guidelines under the yellow tier:

  • Amusement parks: Can open with a maximum capacity of 35% with indoor spaces limited to 25%. Attendance is still limited to in-state visitors but walk-up ticket purchases are allowed.
  • Bars: Can operate indoors for the first time without serving food. Capacity is capped at 25% or 37.5% if proof of a negative test or full vaccination is provided.
  • Bowling alleys: Can open at 50% capacity or 75% capacity if proof of negative COVID-19 test or full vaccination is provided.
  • Restaurants, breweries, wineries and distilleries: Can open indoors at 50% capacity or 75% if proof of negative test or full vaccination is shown.
  • Museums, aquariums and zoos: Can open indoor operations at full capacity with masks and physical distancing still required.
  • Places of worship: Can open indoors with modifications with a maximum 50% capacity. However, state guidelines for capacity for places of worship are not mandatory but strongly recommended.
  • Endurance events and marathons: Can open with max capacity of 500 participants per hour with 1,500 total participants. That maximum rises to 3,000 participants if proof of negative test or full vaccination is provided.
  • Saunas, spas and steam rooms: Can open with 50% capacity.
  • Schools: Can fully reopen for in-person instruction, but local school officials will decide when that happens.
  • Concert venues: Are still closed.
  • Conferences: Can open with tickets or a guest list and assigned seating. Maximum capacity of 200 outdoor, or 400 if all show proof of negative test or full vaccination. Indoor capacity is limited to 200 with proof of negative test or full vaccination.
  • Weddings and private events: Indoor and outdoor events limited to a maximum of 200 persons or 400 if the event is outside and guests show proof of negative test or full vaccination.
  • Gyms and yoga studios: Can open at 50% capacity or 75% if proof of negative test or full vaccination is provided.

A full list of industry guidance can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website.

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Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post.
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