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As Orange County returns to ‘purple’ tier, Heroes Hall at O.C. fairgrounds recloses

A visitor at the Nov. 3 reopening of the Heroes Hall veterans museum in Costa Mesa.
A visitor looks at paintings during the Nov. 3 reopening of Heroes Hall veterans museum at the Orange County fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Officials said the museum will reclose Tuesday, due to a spike in new coronavirus cases.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Heroes Hall — the veterans museum at the Orange County fairgrounds that reopened Nov. 3 after an eight-month closure — will close once more, after state officials announced this week the county’s transition to the most restrictive “purple” reopening tier.

Officials said in a release Monday the Costa Mesa museum would close Tuesday due to coronavirus restrictions issued by the state earlier that day. The news comes less than two weeks after the OC Fair & Event Center reopened the museum and nearby Centennial Farm to limited, timed visits.

The year-round working farm will remain open by reservation for self-guided tours on a limited schedule, and visitors may continue to enjoy outdoor areas such as the Medal of Honor Courtyard and Orange County Walk of Honor.

State officials announced Monday Orange County has moved back to the “widespread” reopening tier, meaning many reopened businesses will have to move operations outdoors again.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced in a news conference Monday 39 counties would move backward through the state’s tiered reopening plan, as California grapples with a new surge of coronavirus cases.

Orange County, where health officials reported the seven-day average of new cases per 100,000 residents skyrocketed over the weekend from 5.6 to 10.8, will immediately face increased restrictions and closures as businesses and attractions adhere to state guidelines.

For counties in the purple tier, museums, zoos and aquariums along with restaurants, churches, movie theaters and fitness centers may only operate outdoors, state guidelines indicate. Retail businesses must limit inside traffic to 25% of total capacity.

Throughout the temporary reclosure of the Heroes Hall, visitors are invited to read the stories and see photos and memorabilia of Southern California veterans online at the Heroes Hall virtual museum.

Centennial Farm is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission and parking are free; masks and reservations are required, and COVID-19 safety protocols have been put in place. To reserve a time to visit, go to ocfair.com/reservations.

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