Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: As of Sept. 1, officials in California, US, have launched a four-tier system to impose restrictions based on COVID-19 activity per county.

Alert Begins 01 Sep 2020 02:16 PM UTC
Alert Expires 15 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): California (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions

As of Sept. 1, authorities in California have launched a four-tier system to impose restrictions based on coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in each of the state's 58 counties. The system goes from the "Minimal" or yellow risk level, with low COVID-19 activity and minimal restrictions, to the "Widespread" or purple risk level, with high levels of COVID-19 activity and the highest number restrictions. Counties must spend at least 21 days in one level to move to a less restrictive one.

Statewide some businesses, such as concert venues, convention centers, live theaters, theme parks, and nightclubs, must remain closed, and events such as festivals are banned. At the minimal or yellow risk level, most businesses can operate, and bars, gyms and fitness centers, indoor playgrounds and family entertainment centers, movie theaters, and indoor dine-in services at restaurants can open at 50-percent capacity. As of Sept. 1, only Alpine and Modoc counties are on the minimal risk level.

At the moderate or orange risk level, movie theaters, museums, places of worship, and indoor services at restaurants can open at 50-percent capacity, and gyms, indoor playgrounds, and family entertainment centers can open at 25-percent capacity. Del Norte, Humboldt, Mariposa, Mono, Plumas, Shasta, Siskiyou, Trinity, and Tuolumne are at the moderate risk level as of Sept. 1.

At the substantial or red risk level, movie theaters, places of worship, museums, zoos, and indoor services at restaurants may open at 25-percent capacity, and cultural ceremonies are allowed at 25-percent capacity. Stores and shopping malls may open at 50-percent capacity. As of Sept. 1, Calaveras, El Dorado, Lake, Lassen, Napa, Nevada, San Diego, San Francisco, and Sierra counties are at the substantial risk level.

At the widespread or purple risk level, some personal care businesses, such as tattoo parlors, must remain closed, while numerous others, including family entertainment centers, movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, zoos, dine-in services at restaurants, and some personal care businesses such as nail salons, can only open outdoors. Retail stores, shopping malls, and libraries can open at 25-percent capacity. As of Sept. 1, most counties are on the widespread or purple level: Alameda, Amador, Butte, Colusa, Contra Costa, Fresno, Glenn, Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Kings, Los Angeles, Madera, Marin, Mendocino, Merced, Monterey, Orange, Placer, Riverside, Sacramento, San Benito, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Luis Obispo, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, Sutter, Tehama, Tulare, Ventura, Yolo, and Yuba.

All businesses must comply with certain requirements aimed at preventing a resurgence in COVID-19 cases, such as enhancing sanitation procedures, closing off areas where people might gather, and observing social distancing standards, among other things. Additionally, the use of protective face coverings is mandatory while in indoor facilities, in line to obtain services, or riding public transportation, as well as when in public and social distancing is not possible.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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