More Contra Costa businesses can reopen as COVID-19 data improves

More Contra Costa businesses and services can reopen due to improving COVID-19 data
Photo credit: Mike Kinney

An improving COVID-19 situation means more indoor businesses can reopen in Contra Costa County with modifications, including indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage parlors and places of worship, according to County officials.

The County has qualified to move from the most restrictive “purple” tier, or “widespread” for COVID-19, to the less restrictive red  tier, or “substantial,” in California’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system.

The red tier means places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can open indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less; that gyms can reopen indoors at 10 percent capacity; that indoor shopping malls and retail stores can operate at 50 percent capacity instead of the current 25 percent. Barbershops and nail salons can also operate indoors with modifications.

As for schools, if the County remains in the red tier for two more weeks, elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction on Oct. 13. Currently, elementary schools can apply for a waiver from the health officer to reopen.

“In order to move into the more permissive red tier, the county had to see average case rates drop below 7 per 100,000 people and testing positivity rates dip below 8 percent,” County officials said. “For the past two weeks, Contra Costa has met those benchmarks. As of Tuesday, the case rate was 6.7 per 100,000 people and the testing positivity rate was 3.7 percent.”

COVID numbers improved or remained steady even after the Labor Day weekend, but County officials said residents must remain vigilant by following public health orders because the virus is still circulating in the community.