In order for L.A. County to move into the less restrictive red tier, the state has to distribute 2 million vaccines in its hardest hit areas—a requirement that Gov. Gavin Newsom said would be met by Friday.
The COVID-19 case rate in L.A. County COVID-19 is currently below 10 cases per 100,000 residents, which is the other leading requirement to reach the red tier. Within 48 hours of both requirements being met, L.A. County will have the opportunity to open more sectors such as indoor dining, fitness centers and movie theaters.
“Specifically, L.A. will be a big beneficiary of this new metric that likely will be met on Friday,” Newsom said on Wednesday. “And moving through the weekend and into next week, you will see more activity, more loosening of the tiers. That’s encouraging and I hope people will be enthusiastic about what this means moving forward, because we have a series of other thresholds and other goals that will allow us to move forward with more clarity, more conviction and more confidence as we move through the next few weeks and the next few months.”
L.A. Public Health would still need to work with the L.A. County Board of Supervisors to draw up adjusted guidelines for the red tier and more details are expected on Thursday.
“If this week’s adjusted case rates remains below 10 new cases per 100,000 people, our understanding is that within 48 hours of the state announcing the vaccine trigger has been met, L.A. County along with other counties with qualifying case rates, would be moved into the red tier and permitted to reopen for additional activities,” L.A. Public Health Director, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said on Monday.
In the past, L.A. County’s reopening orders have been stricter than the state’s, but the current case rate is as low as it was before the 2020 holiday surges. The focus on vaccinating the hardest-hit areas in California was also put in place to allow for an ease in restrictions, as 40% of vaccine supply has been allocated to more vulnerable areas.
“We’re not running full speed back to normal,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said, Wednesday. “That would be reckless, that would be dangerous, but instead we’re walking carefully… to make sure all of our work doesn’t unravel as we’ve seen it do before.”