.Santa Cruz County Moving to Looser Restrictions in Yellow Tier

Santa Cruz County is moving to the looser restrictions of the Yellow Tier starting Wednesday, May 19, county health officials announced Tuesday. 

Here are some of the key changes that will start Wednesday, according to the county’s press release:

  • Bars may open indoors at 25% capacity, or 50% if customers show proof of a Covid-19 vaccination or negative test; 
  • Indoor music venues may increase to 50% capacity with proof of vaccination or negative test; 
  • Outdoor performance venues, including music, sporting events and theater, may increase to two-thirds capacity; 
  • Saunas and steam rooms may open at 50% capacity; 
  • Family entertainment centers (bowling alleys, arcades, etc.) may increase to 50%, or 75% with proof of vaccination or a negative test;  
  • Gyms may increase to 50% capacity; 
  • Amusement parks may increase to 35% capacity. 

The county has been in the Orange Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy four-tier reopening plan since March 31. The Yellow Tier has the loosest restrictions of the four rankings and is a reflection of what the state considers to be “minimal” risk locally based on the level of spread of Covid-19

To qualify for the Yellow Tier, Santa Cruz County has met the state’s criteria of less than two daily new cases per 100,000 people, less than 2% positive tests for the entire county, and less than 2.2% positive tests for the health equity quartile, which looks at results coming from census tracts that have “low health conditions” as determined by the state’s Healthy Places Index.  

There are currently just 84 known active cases of Covid-19 among county residents, according to data last updated Monday by health officials. More than 16,000 people in the county have had Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic. Some 206 county residents have died from Covid-19, and nearly 500 people have been hospitalized while ill with Covid-19. 

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In four weeks, the entire state will move beyond the color-coded Blueprint system if officials proceed with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s promised June 15 economic reopening. Normal operations will resume in nearly all sectors of the economy statewide at that point. 

June 15 is also the date on which California will start to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recent guidance that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks in certain settings. 

Everyone is still required to wear face masks in indoor settings until June 15, county health officials noted. 

For local information on Covid-19, visit santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call 831-454-4242 between 8am and 5pm, Monday through Friday.


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