UPDATE: Marin's move to Tier 2 was placed on hold on September 7. See the updated news release.
San Rafael, CA – Marin County is cleared to take a significant step forward in reopening during the COVID-19 era on September 8. Based on the most recent local coronavirus metrics, the State of California will be downgrading the risk level assigned to Marin from "widespread" to "substantial" which will allow more doors to open in businesses and schools.
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, with the most severe restrictions.
Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said Marin’s most recent figures of 5.9 cases per day and 3% positive COVID-19 test rate allowed the move into Tier 2, or red status for “substantial” risk.
Noting that risk is still “substantial,” Willis said it’s too early to celebrate.
“We made a lot of progress in August, so we know what it takes. It’s a team effort for all of us.” he said. “We’re at a critical junction. To hold onto these gains, we need to stay strong in the ways we protect ourselves and others. If we see unsafe social mixing, or less face covering, we’ll see more transmission and could have to shut down again.”
Marin schools can reopen for in-person instruction on Tuesday, September 22, if the County remains in Tier 2 for two consecutive weeks. Fifteen local schools already have Public Health permission to reopen September 8, through a special waiver. Schools must follow State and Marin County Public Health guidance when they reopen.
The primary changes allowed under the state order as Marin moves into Tier 2, or red status:
- Retail establishments are allowed to open indoors at 50% capacity
- Indoor malls are allowed to open at 50% capacity
- Personal care services are allowed to open indoors
- Museums are allowed to open indoors with 25% capacity
- Places of worship are allowed to open with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Movie theaters are allowed to open indoors with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
- Gyms are allowed to open indoors with 10% capacity
- Restaurants are allowed to open indoors with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer
A full list of changes to business sector guidelines will be updated on the Marin Recovers website soon. All open businesses must complete a COVID-19 Site-Specific Protection Plan prior to reopening. Guidance for the plan is also found on the Marin Recovers website.
Sectors of business can progressively open more operations with moves up the tier list, following the allowances of the state for each tier, if Marin continues to make progress against COVID-19. A county must spend at least 21 days in any tier before advancing to a less restrictive one. Most notably, counties will have to tighten back up if conditions worsen.
Elevated COVID-19 rates in low-income areas of Marin, while improved, remain a challenge. Willis said testing and wider supports must continue in locations where residents are the most vulnerable, and progress in these communities may determine the pace of reopening.