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More California counties allowed to reopen their economies as COVID-19 fades

A masked server delivers food to diners at an outdoor restaurant
A masked server delivers food at a Redondo Beach restaurant on May 14.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

As the coronavirus pandemic recedes, California is continuing to reopen its economy.

In the penultimate weekly update of the state’s COVID-19 reopening roadmap, four more counties — Marin, Monterey, San Benito and Ventura — moved into the least restrictive yellow tier.

Counties within that category, of which there are now 19, can allow most businesses to operate indoors with some safeguards.

Reaching that level requires counties to record for two consecutive weeks an adjusted daily case rate of fewer than 2 per 100,000 people, a rate of positive test results of less than 2%, and a less than 2.2% rate of positive test results in communities heavily impacted by the virus.

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Another four counties — Nevada, Sacramento, San Joaquin and Solano — also progressed Tuesday into the orange tier, the second-least restrictive tier on the reopening ladder.

Thirty-five of California’s 58 counties are now in the orange tier. Four remain in the more restrictive red tier, but none are in the strictest purple tier.

The tier system is slated for retirement on June 15, when state officials say they will lift coronavirus-related capacity restrictions and physical distancing requirements for attendees, customers and guests at almost all businesses and other institutions, and allow people who are fully vaccinated to go without masks in most situations.

“Though it is only two weeks until full reopening, every day matters for our businesses,” Ventura County Executive Officer Mike Powers said in a statement Tuesday. “Expanded customer capacity will help impacted businesses. We appreciate the hard work of our community members in getting us to this point.”

California has now at least partially vaccinated 70% of its adult residents against COVID-19.

Clearing that hurdle is a vital development as the state prepares to fully reopen.

The progress, however, comes alongside a significant drop in the number of people seeking their first vaccine shot.

At the peak, providers statewide were administering about 400,000 vaccine doses per day. Over the last week, an average of about 124,000 shots have been given daily, according to data compiled by The Times.


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