On Tuesday, March 23rd, LA County officially qualified to move from the red tier into the orange tier, as part of California’s ongoing Blueprint For A Safety Economy program. If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wait, didn’t we just move into the red tier?” you’re absolutely correct. But as COVID cases continue to fall, and vaccination rates rise, the pace of reopening has quickened, meaning less restrictions for LA County businesses could be on the horizon.
Below we’ve outlined exactly what it all means, and when you can expect dining restrictions to lessen even more.
WHAT CHANGES CAN WE EXPECT TO SEE ONCE WE HIT THE ORANGE TIER?
Moving into the orange tier will affect every economic sector in LA, including retail, places of worship, museums, zoos, bowling alleys, and aquariums. For restaurants and bars, the most noticeable changes will be:
- Bars that don’t serve food will be able to reopen outdoors, with modifications.
- Indoor capacity at restaurants will go from 25% to 50%.
- Breweries, wineries, and distilleries that serve food will be able to increase indoor capacity to 50%.
HOW WE GOT TO THIS POINT
Just as it was when we moved from the purple tier into the red tier, LA County uses these three key metrics to judge when it can move into a less restrictive tier:
- Adjusted Case Rate: The number of cases per 100,000 people that were reported in the county across a seven-day average. In some areas, that number is modified to account for the volume of testing that is done.
- Test Positivity Rate: This number is representative of the percentage of tests that came back positive in the county across a seven-day average.
- Equity Index: This number measures the rate of positive tests recorded in low-income neighborhoods in comparison to the county’s overall rate.
LA COUNTY'S NUMBERS RIGHT NOW
All three metrics have to cross the same tier threshold in order for the County to qualify for that tier. As of Friday, March 26th, LA County’s numbers are as follow:
- Adjusted Case Rate: 3.7% (orange tier)
- Test Positivity Rate: 1.8% (yellow tier)
- Equity Index: 2.5% (orange tier)
WHY ARE WE STILL WAITING, IF THE COUNTY QUALIFIES RIGHT NOW?
There are two reasons. The first is that a county must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before it can move into a new, less restrictive one. LA County last moved from the purple tier to the red tier on March 15th. Secondly, once a county does qualify for a new tier, it must hold those current numbers for two weeks, proving that they are stable.