Mendocino County becomes first in North Bay to move to least-restrictive yellow tier

Mendocino County will advance Wednesday from the orange tier (“moderate” risk of infections) to the yellow tier (“minimal” risk) in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, state health officials announced Tuesday.

Effective at 12:01 a.m., Mendocino becomes the first of the North Bay’s six-county region with infection rates low enough to advance to the yellow tier. Marin County last week anticipated moving to yellow but was held back in orange because of a slight rise in COVID-19 infection rates. Napa, Sonoma, and Lake counties remain in orange, while Solano County continues to hold in the red tier.

Under the yellow tier, restaurants, wineries, breweries and distilleries, as well as movie theaters and fitness centers, can operate indoors at 50% capacity. Retail stores, hotels, hair salons and barbershops can open indoors with modifications.

Counties in the yellow tier also can open outdoor venues for sports and live performances at an expanded capacity of 67%, with in-state visitors only. Indoor concessions can operate in designated areas.

Mendocino County this week reported a new daily COVID-19 case rate of 2.4 per 100,000 residents, and a test positivity rate of 1.2%. In order to advance to the yellow tier, a county’s new daily case rate must be less than 2 per 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks. The test positivity rate must be less than 2%.

Mendocino joins three other counties already in the yellow tier: Lassen, Sierra and Alpine counties. Moving this week from red to orange are Amador, Glenn and Sutter counties.

There are no longer any counties in the purple tier, the state’s most-restrictive status.

California officials early this month said many restrictions statewide would lift June 15, if current case trends hold.

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