California reverses block on Marin County reopening from coronavirus restrictions
Marin County is about to take another step toward opening more businesses as it anticipates the California Department of Public Health to move the county’s status from the most restrictive level, or purple tier, down one level to the red tier.
This means that restaurants, hotels, museums, gyms and many other business types can have limited indoor activities.
The county reported Tuesday morning it has successfully appealed its designation in purple and has confirmation from the state that it will move to red, effective today. Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to make the official announcement today during a noon conference.
On Sept. 4, the county, in consultation with the CDPH, announced plans to move to the red tier, according to the county’s website. But on Sept. 7, CDPH notified the county its status would not change.
According to the county, the decision came after the state reanalyzed its data and applied a new method for determining a county’s position on the four-tiered monitoring framework. The new approach included a different time frame for calculating a county’s case rate and a new adjustment for counties testing more than the state average.
“We want to move carefully and base our decisions on local data,” Dr. Matt Willis, the county’s public health officer, said on Sept. 7. “We’re well prepared to move forward, but ultimately this is the state’s decision. In the new framework, the state has a lot more control about what moves and what doesn’t.”
On Aug. 28, when Newsom introduced the new state-run tiered-system that would take effect on Aug. 31, Marin County officials said they expected to be lowered from the initial purple tier to the red tier the following week, based on data that includes meeting the state’s two top indicators: lowered case rates and high testing rates. The county’s data indicators as of Aug. 28 on the state’s COVID-19 website showed it hovering between the red and orange tiers.
“If a county has data that crosses multiple tiers, you default to the more restrictive one,” Laine Hendricks, Marin County’s public information officer, said on Aug. 28. “So based on that, as long as our data stays in a good place and we keep seeing a downward trajectory (in cases), then we anticipate being on the red tier hopefully in the next week.”
The state’s counties are assessed weekly, and any changes between tiers will move at a slower pace to avoid any further potential for a county to reopen too soon, Newsom said on Aug. 28.
This is a developing story.