“Reaching the yellow tier is a great accomplishment. I appreciate the collective work of our community members who have helped move us forward.”
Rigoberto Vargas; Director, Ventura County Public Health Department
It has been a long haul to get this far, and we’re not done yet, but: This past Wednesday, June 2, Ventura County met the required metrics to move to the least restrictive Yellow Tier in the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. We have all been through a lot over the past 15 months. While our greatest sympathies go out to those who lost loved ones or have suffered significant economic losses, it does appear that we are through the most challenging period of this pandemic. As I write this, California has the lowest rate of infection in the country at 7.8 new cases per 100,000 people. And though this is excellent news, it is significant that COVID-19 is still deadly despite our successes.
On Friday, June 4, Governor Newsome reported that California’s COVID-19 State of emergency order, established in March 2020, will remain in place beyond June 15, despite plans to “fully” reopen our economy on that date. At the risk of treading into a political arena, I have to say I appreciate our state’s preventative actions to this point. I know many would disagree with me, but all along, my position has been: This is unprecedented. There are people much more qualified than me determining our next best step, and I don’t worry much about government conspiracies. There are nearly 40 million residents here in California. Without the precautions taken, I shudder to think not only about us but about the damage our state’s policies could have inflicted on our neighboring States, across the country, and beyond. Ultimately, I’m just grateful that I haven’t lost anyone close to me, and I certainly do not want to be the cause of someone else’s misfortune.
So what does the Yellow Tier mean?
* California will keep existing mask guidance in place until June 15, when the state aims to reopen the economy fully
* Ventura County restaurants capped at 200 guests but must remain at below 50% capacity at any time.
* Malls and retailers are now open to total capacity, but guests must still follow established mask and social distancing protocols.
* Bars are now open indoors. A maximum of 100 patrons or 25% percent capacity is allowed. All previously established indoor safety protocols remain in place.
* Barbershops and hair and nail salons are now open for indoor services with modifications. Some continue to offer outdoor services.
* Movie theaters are open indoors at 50% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Museums, zoos, and aquariums can now be open indoors at 75% capacity, up from 50%. Gyms, dance, and yoga studios are now open indoors at 50% capacity. Masks are required, except for swimming.
Will we still have to wear a mask after June 15?
California will keep existing mask guidance in place until June 15, when it aims to reopen the economy fully. After that, the state plans to allow fully vaccinated Californians to go without a mask in most indoor settings. Additional information about COVID-19 response and resource information can be found at www.venturacountyrecovers.org.
At this point, it is redundant to say, “We are all in this together.” But ultimately, we all have been in this together all along regardless of our individual positions on handling this pandemic. To all to took those inconvenient precautions that kept us and those close to us safe, Rebecca and I say thank you! To those who suffered economic losses we say, thank you. And to those who disagreed with the restrictions but complied with them reluctantly, we say thank you.