L.A. County moves to yellow tier; reopenings expected Thursday


Los Angeles County’s continually declining COVID-19 cases have met the threshold to move into the least-restrictive, yellow tier this week, allowing for more businesses to reopen starting Thursday.  

California Department of Public Health officials released updated metrics Tuesday with the state’s blueprint for reopening, reporting L.A. County’s case rate has met all of the requirements for the yellow tier for two straight weeks and giving the green light to transition into the lower tier.

The county’s seven-day average test positivity rate is 0.7%, while its seven-day average case rate is 3.0 per 100,000 residents per day, and its adjusted case rate is 1.6 per 100,000, which is adjusted depending on the county’s testing volume, based on results from the week ending April 24. 

L.A. County Department of Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the county plans to release a revised health officer order Wednesday, detailing what sectors can reopen before the order goes into effect Thursday. 

The county Board of Supervisors released a statement following the announcement:  

“This has been a long and difficult journey and we are so heartened to arrive at this latest milestone. Entering the yellow tier means we have reached the next-to-last stage before fully reopening, and this is another welcome sign we are moving toward a safe and healthy new normal, one that is guided by hope rather than fear. This new tier matches the sunny optimism of the season. Now it’s up to all of us to keep up the good work. It’s never been easier to get vaccinated, and that is the single most important action you can take to protect yourself, your family, and your community. Continuing to make smart choices now moves us closer to fully enjoying all the wonderful things that Los Angeles County has to offer.” 

Under this tier, capacity restrictions are expected to be lifted for more businesses, such as museums, zoos and aquariums, while other modifications under the state’s guidelines include:  

  • Restaurants and movie theaters still must limit capacity to 50%, but no longer need to limit to 200 people.   
  • Gyms and fitness centers can increase capacity from 25% to 50% and reopen saunas, spas and steam rooms. Capacity may increase to 75% if all guests show proof of a negative test or full vaccination.  
  • Wineries, breweries and distilleries can increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50% or 200 people (whichever is fewer).  
  • Bars can resume indoor operations with 25% capacity or 100 people (whichever is fewer).  
  • Family entertainment centers can increase capacity from 25% to 50% and can reopen arcade games, ice and roller skating areas, and indoor playgrounds, with modifications.   
  • Card rooms and satellite wagering sites can increase from 25% to 50% capacity.  
  • Outdoor live events, such as live performances and sporting events, can increase capacity to 67% from 33%.  
  • Indoor live events for venues with 1,500 maximum capacity can increase capacity from 15% to 25% or 300 people (whichever is fewer), while capacities for venues with seating for more than 1,500 does not change from 10% or 2,000 people.   
  • Amusement parks can increase maximum capacity to 35% from 25%, with walk-up ticket sales allowed, while water parks can reopen at 40% outdoor capacity.  

Business sectors with 50% capacities may increase that to 75% if all guests show proof of a negative test or full vaccination.  

It should be noted that local governments and public health departments can implement stricter orders than what California imposes, with Ferrer noting that additional modifications may be made. 

Ferrer continued to stress the importance for residents to not only continue to get vaccinated, but also continue adhering to public health guidelines, such as mask wearing, physical distancing and hand washing, to prevent a resurgence of the virus locally. 

While L.A. County joins six other counties in the state’s least restrictive tier, the move to yellow tier comes as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced California remains on target to fully reopen the state on June 15 in a social media post Tuesday, noting this will happen if more Californians continue getting vaccinated.  

Newsom plans to eliminate the state’s four-tiered system, allowing the entire state to reopen at the same time and “everyday activities” to resume, with all sectors able to return to usual operations in compliance with requirements of Cal/OSHA, the state’s workplace safety agency, and with the public health policies in place, such as required masking, testing and encouraging vaccinations. 

Public Health also released the following updated COVID-19 statistics Tuesday:     

New COVID-19 cases reported in L.A. County in the past 24 hours: 273 

Total COVID-19 cases in L.A. County: 1,234,202 

New deaths related to COVID-19 reported: 18 

Total COVID-19 deaths in L.A. County: 23,930 

Hospitalizations countywide: 386; 25% of whom are in the ICU.   

Hospitalizations at Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital as of April 26: 5, with 1,221 discharged since the onset of the pandemic. 

COVID-19 cases reported in the Santa Clarita Valley in the past 24 hours: 10, 8 of which came from the city of Santa Clarita.     

Total COVID-19 cases in the SCV: 27,661  

Total COVID-19 deaths in the SCV as of May 3: 302        

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the city of Santa Clarita as of April 18: 48.6%    

Percentage of vaccinated people (at least one dose) in the SCV as of April 18: 46.5%    

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