County of Marin - News Releases - CDPH Holds Marin at Tier One Status

For Immediate Release
September 08, 2020

State Holds Marin At Tier 1 COVID-19 Risk Status

Pending review with State, Marin business reopening delayed

San Rafael, CA – The County of Marin was notified late Monday night by the State of California that the planned move to Tier 2 in the state’s COVID-19 monitoring framework has been delayed. Marin County will remain in Tier 1 — the most restrictive status — while the state conducts further review. This is delaying business reopenings planned for Tier 2, including: indoor personal care services; indoor dining; indoor gyms; movie theaters; indoor houses of worship; and expanded capacity at indoor retail establishments and malls.

On August 28, the state introduced its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a four-tier framework by which counties are measured for loosening and tightening restrictions on social activities and business operations. Marin was placed in Tier 1, or purple status to notify “widespread” risk, for the most severe restrictions.

On September 4, in consultation with California Department of Public Health (CDPH), Marin County announced plans to move to Tier 2, or red status. On the evening of September 7, CDPH notified the County of Marin of the status reversal. The decision comes after the state reanalyzed its data and applied a new method for determining a county’s position on the four-tiered monitoring framework. The new approach includes a different timeframe for calculating a county’s case rate and a new adjustment for counties testing more than the State average, which CDPH plans to introduce this week.

“We want to move carefully and base our decisions on local data,” said Dr. Matt Willis, the County’s Public Health Officer. “We’re well prepared to move forward, but ultimately this is the state’s decision. In the new framework the state has a lot more control about what moves and what doesn’t.

Marin County Public Health has requested an adjucation process with state officials before a final determination is made. “We requested a review because if we don’t move forward yet, we want to make sure its for the right reasons,” Willis said.

Willis said smaller counties like Marin that are on the cusp of two tiers are more vulnerable to slight changes in the case measurement process and small outbreaks. “One cluster of cases in a facility leads to a clear spike in countywide case rates," he said. "These are some of the factors we’ll be discussing with the state.”

“This decision is a gut check for residents and businesses,” said Angela Nicholson, Assistant County Administrator and Director of Marin’s Emergency Operations Center. “We’ve been working together to flatten our curve with COVID-19. Every day we see the negative effect on the emotional and economic well-being of our neighbors and community.”

A final determination of the status regarding Marin’s tier standing is anticipated before the end of the week.


Dr. Matthew Willis
Public Health Officer
Health and Human Services

3240 Kerner Blvd.
San Rafael, CA 94901
(415) 473-4163
Email: Dr. Matthew Willis
Marin HHS website