Most indoor businesses can now reopen in Calaveras County, as the county moved into the “minimal” yellow tier of the state’s four-tier COVID-19 monitoring system on Tuesday.
Under California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, counties that occupy the least-restrictive minimal tier can reopen most indoor businesses with capacity modifications, including indoor bars.
Other than during a brief relaxation of COVID-19 rules in June, Calaveras County’s indoor bars that do not serve food have been mandated to remain shuttered since Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order was issued in March.
Some area bars were able to avoid closures by serving food--a loophole in the state's monitoring system.
With seven active confirmed COVID-19 cases countywide and no cases currently hospitalized, Calaveras County has met the state’s small county-specific criteria to move into the least-restrictive tier.
“For a small county to move from the orange to yellow tier, it must meet the existing test positivity threshold of less than 2%,” the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website explains. “However, in lieu of meeting the established daily case rate threshold for yellow tier of less than 1 case per 100,000, a small county is allowed to have a daily case rate of less than or equal to 2 cases per 100,000.”
According to the CDPH, if a small county like Calaveras with a population between 35,000 and 75,000 exceeds 14 new COVID-19 cases weekly for two consecutive weeks, it will be required to move into a more restrictive tier.
As of Wednesday, Calaveras County’s neighboring small counties, Amador and Tuolumne, remain in the “moderate” orange tier.
On Tuesday, Calaveras County Public Health announced five new cases of COVID-19 and three deaths, two of which were connected to an outbreak among residents at Avalon Health Care in San Andreas.
To date, there have been 347 confirmed cases in the county and 21 COVID-19-related deaths.
Currently, nine California counties occupy the minimal tier of the state’s COVID-19 monitoring system including Mariposa, Alpine, Humboldt, Sierra, Trinity and Plumas. Nine counties have also been classified in the “widespread” purple tier of the system, after reporting a testing positivity rate of over 8% for three consecutive weeks.