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Riverside County clings to red tier reopening status for another week as state defers decision

Riverside County will remain in the "red" tier within the state's reopening plan for at least another week, California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly announced Tuesday.

The state deferred a decision on whether to pull the county back into the most restrictive "purple" tier until next Tuesday – despite Riverside County failing key coronavirus metrics for the second week in a row.

"Obviously, moving back in a tier is important for communities; it's important for the state," Ghaly said. "We don’t want to do it without a significant degree of conversation and understanding."

You can watch Dr. Ghaly's full update here.

Ghaly said the state has been monitoring Riverside County, as the county was in danger of no longer meeting the thresholds required to stay in the red tier. Riverside County did not meet the threshold but Ghaly said the state will work with the county to better understand where the data is differing before coming to a final decision.

On Tuesday, Riverside County was within the positivity rate threshold set by the state to remain in the red tier – 5.9 percent.

But the new case rate (per day per 100,000 people) was 8.1 – outside the state's threshold of between 4 and 7. That number is being adjusted to 9.2 by the state because the county's testing volume continues to fall short too.

That means gyms, places of worship, movie theaters, zoos and museums, and indoor dining could soon be in jeopardy.

Riverside County meets the positivity rate and HPI thresholds but does not meet the cases per 100K and adjusted rate tier
plan for reducing covid-19
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"Having indoor dining is super important right now because most people want to eat inside right now," said Francisco Solano, chef and owner of Solano's Bar and Grill in Palm Desert. "If they take that away from us obv its gonna hurt every restaurant and every business."

The county said in the 7-day grace period granted by the state, people can help drive the county's metrics in the right direction by getting tested, even if they are healthy.

MORE: Riverside County facing a possible return to the most restrictive ‘purple’ state tier due to rising coronavirus rates

"There is no good way to say it, but both our positivity rate and our case rates are still rising," said Dr. Cameron Kaiser, Riverside County Health Officer told the Board of Supervisors last week.

"Our adjusted case rate, we are told by the state, is currently entering the purple tier again," Kaiser said last week. "If the trend continues we are informed by the state we will face the possibility of going backwards."

Going backwards would mean back to the purple, or most restrictive tier.

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Moving to the purple tier would also have an impact on local schools. Currently, schools are allowed to open with in-person instruction without a waiver. In the purple tier, that would change. Currently, all three districts are preparing plans for in-person instruction.

What Changes When the County Moves from the Red to Purple Tier?

  • All Retail
    • Purple: Max 25% capacity
    • Red: Max 50% capacity
  • Shopping Centers
    • Purple: Max 25% capacity; Closed common areas; Closed food courts
    • Red: Max 50% capacity; Closed common areas; Reduced capacity food courts
  • Personal Care Services
    • Purple: Open Outdoors with modifications
    • Red: Open Indoors with modifications
  • Museums, Zoos, and aquariums
    • Purple: Open outdoors with modifications
    • Red: Allowed to open indoors at 25% max capacity
  • Places of Worship
    • Purple: Open outdoors only
    • Red: Allowed to open indoors at 25% max capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Movie theaters
    • Purple: Open outdoors only
    • Red: Allowed to open indoors at 25% max capacity
  • Hotels and lodging
    • Purple: Open with modifications
    • Red: Allowed to open fitness center at 10% max capacity
  • Gyms and Fitness Centers
    • Purple: Open outdoors only
    • Red: Allowed to open indoors at 10% max capacity
  • Restaurants
    • Purple: Open outdoors only
    • Red: Allowed to open indoors at 25% max capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
  • Wineries
    • Purple: Open outdoors only
    • Red: No changes
  • Bars, Breweries, and Distilleries (Where no meal provided)
    • Remains closed in both purple and red
  • Family Entertainment Centers
    • Remains open only outdoors in both purple and red (E.G. batting cages, kart racing, mini-golf)
  • Cardrooms, Satellite Wagering
    • Remains the outdoor only in both purple and red
  • Offices
    • Remains remote in both purple and red
  • Professional sports
    • Same in both red and purple
      (Open with modifications, no live audiences)

There has been an increased economic-based push from business leaders in the past week to encourage additional testing.

The Riverside University Health System is offering free coronavirus testing this week at the Palm Springs Convention Center. Tests are available through Wednesday, October 14.

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California / Coronavirus / News / News Headlines / Top Stories

Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.

KESQ News Team

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