WILLITS, 4/7/21 — After over a year of pandemic restrictions Mendocino County, along with much of the state, has been moved to the “orange tier” of COVID restrictions, which means increased capacity at houses of worship, movie theaters, restaurants, bars, and other places. The mask mandate remains in place, but with vaccination continuing apace, and the target of 4 million vaccinations provided in the particularly low health rating zip codes, Governor Newsom announced yesterday that the state would be relaxing the tier requirements, and that the state would be fully re-opened by June 15. (Read the details of what has opened below)
Mendocino has seen very low case rates and positivity rates in the past few days, and had already reached the old orange tier levels, meaning that had the governor not made the change we likely would’ve passed into the orange tier in a matter of days anyhow.
But with the spring weather and a year of semi-captivity under our belts, most agree that it is a welcome change. Still, Mendocino Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren cautioned at yesterday’s Board of Supervisor’s meeting that people must remain cautious, masking, socially distancing, and getting a vaccine at the soonest possible date, lest California and Mendocino see a “fourth wave” of COVID, as appears to be happening in the eastern United States. The mutation of new variants of COVID within California, as well as the arrival of new strains from elsewhere, mean that we cannot be 100% confident in vaccination, and that, as Coren advised, precaution, including masking, must remain for the foreseeable future.
Here is the press release from the County from yesterday:
Changing Mendocino County Qualifies for Orange Tier Threshold
Governor Newsom announced today the change in tier structure, as a result of increased vaccine distribution. This change in tier structure allows Mendocino County to shift to the next less restrictive Orange Tier in the states Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The change to the Orange Tier will take effect Wednesday, April 7th and will be reflected in a revised Mendocino County Health Officer Order to go into effect on April 7th, at 12:01 a.m.
Approved activities should be reviewed on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan as released by the State of California available on the following link.
Some of the approved activities include but are not limited to:
∙ Bars that do not provide meals will be allowed to open outdoors only with distancing, masking and infection control safety measures. Masks are required except when people are eating or drinking.
∙ Breweries, Wineries, Distilleries that do not serve meals can now open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
∙ Restaurants can increase capacity for indoor dining to 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is less with continued safety modifications.
∙ Cardrooms can operate indoors at 25% capacity with modifications. ∙ Places of Worship can hold services indoors at 50% capacity with modifications.
∙ Fitness Centers can operate indoors at 25% capacity and indoor pools can now re open with modifications. Masks are required unless swimming.
∙ Movie Theatres can increase capacity to 50% or 200 people, whichever is less with modifications. Seats must be reserved, and each group must have 6 feet of distance from other groups in all directions. Masks required.
501 Low Gap Rd, Rm 1010 Office: 707-463-4441 Ukiah CA 95482-3734 Fax: 707-463-5649
∙ Family Entertainment Centers can open indoors at 25% capacity for distanced activities, such as bowling or escape rooms with modifications. Masks required. Can increase to 50% capacity if all attendees have proof of being fully vaccinated or a recent COVID-19 test with a negative test result.
∙ Grocery and Retail Stores open indoors with modifications.
∙ Hair Salons, Barbershops and Personal Care Services open indoors with modifications.
∙ Museums and Zoos can be open indoors at 50% capacity with modifications.
∙ Fairs can open with a maximum of 25% capacity with modifications. All staff are required to test for COVID-19 weekly, and all visitors and participants must be residents of California.
Advancement to the Orange Tier reflects the patience and persistence of our whole community in Mendocino County. The shift to the Orange Tier also comes as the County continues to make progress on vaccinations despite supply. As we wait for everyone to have access to vaccines, the County urges all to remember that indoor activities pose a much higher risk than outdoor activities and to take every step to reduce risk as much as possible. This is especially critical given the recent detection of variants in Mendocino County. To keep yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors, and our broader community safe, follow these core principles:
1. Stay masked. Consistent use of face coverings both indoors and outdoors, especially double-masking, is very effective at preventing spread of the coronavirus.
2. Stay outdoors. Outdoor activities are far safer than indoor ones.
3. Maintain at least 6-foot distance from others. Social distancing from those who do not live in your home is effective at keeping the coronavirus away.
4. Avoid groups outside of your household including crowds. The fewer people you encounter and the fewer interactions you have, the lower the chance the virus will spread.
5. Get vaccinated when it is your turn. All vaccines authorized by the FDA for emergency use work well and will help keep you, your family, and your friends safe.
“Our County has done well through this difficult last year,” shared Dr. Coren “Cases are declining and we are getting out vaccines. This allows us to relax some restrictions,” he then caution all sharing “It is important for people to know that the East Coast and Minnesota are experiencing a possible start of a new wave. So we must continue to be careful and avoid high risk activities.”