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LA County to move into orange tier, further ease restrictions on businesses

Los Angeles County will be able to increase indoor dining capacity and reopen more businesses as the county advances to the less-restrictive orange tier of California’s reopening plan starting Wednesday. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)

By Marilyn Chavez-Martinez and Ishani Desai

March 30, 2021 1:48 p.m.

This post was updated March 30 at 8:32 p.m.

Los Angeles County qualified for a less-restrictive tier of the state’s reopening plan Tuesday, and will allow more businesses to reopen and reduce restrictions on indoor capacity limits starting Monday, state officials announced.

The California Department of Public Health released new data Tuesday, which moved LA County and several other counties from the red tier to the orange tier.

LA County is planning to wait until Monday to revise its health order to loosen restrictions in the county, LA County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said at a press conference Tuesday. County officials decided to wait to make sure COVID-19 cases do not increase and ensure the county remains in the red tier for three complete weeks, Ferrer added.

Safety measures, including social distancing and mask-wearing, are still paramount, Ferrer said.

To advance into the orange tier, a county must average less than 3.9 cases for every 100,000 residents and maintain a positivity rate of 4.9% or less for two weeks, in addition to meeting other requirements.

The loosened restrictions will allow indoor retail stores to open at 75% capacity, though public health officials encourage operations at 50% capacity until April 15, according to a LACDPH press release. The county will also be able to reopen amusement parks at 15% capacity. 

Restaurants can increase their indoor capacity from 25% to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer. Bars that do not serve meals will reopen for the first time in LA County since the start of the pandemic but will have to operate outdoors.

Places of worship can provide religious services at 50% capacity and hair salons and barber shops can open to 75% capacity. Museums, zoos and aquariums can open at 50% capacity, and outdoor live events will be able to begin hosting live audiences with 33% capacity along with other restrictions.

LA County moved to the red tier March 15, allowing the county to reopen indoor dining and gyms at limited capacity for the first time since pandemic-restrictions were implemented.

COVID-19 cases in LA County have decreased by 50% since the end of February, according to the LACDPH.

COVID-19 vaccine availability is also set to expand in April. Californians 50 years and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine starting Thursday, while people 16 and over will be eligible starting April 15. COVID-19 vaccines have not yet been approved for people under 16 years old.

Approximately 4 million Angelenos have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, while around 5.5 million individuals 16 and older in the county must still be vaccinated, according to the LACDPH. 

UCLA has also continued to reopen more facilities because of loosened state restrictions. Indoor dining at the Ackerman Union A-Level and the Court of Sciences Student Center already reopened, and indoor dining at Bruin Café and De Neve dining hall is set to reopen Wednesday with limited capacity.

Two on-campus libraries – Charles E. Young Research Library and Hugh & Hazel Darling Law Library – have also opened for indoor studying at limited capacity.

UCLA is planning to mostly return to normal operations by fall. UCLA has operated mostly remotely since March 2020.

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Marilyn Chavez-Martinez | Outreach director
Chavez-Martinez is the Outreach Director. She was previously an assistant news editor managing the campus politics beat and still writes for the Daily Bruin news section occasionally. She is also a third-year English and Economics student at UCLA.
Chavez-Martinez is the Outreach Director. She was previously an assistant news editor managing the campus politics beat and still writes for the Daily Bruin news section occasionally. She is also a third-year English and Economics student at UCLA.
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