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Santa Cruz County moves to orange tier of Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Watch Gov. Gavin Newsom's update here:

Watch the Santa Cruz County health official update here:

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, Calif. (KION)

UPDATE 10/27/2020 11:50 a.m. Santa Cruz County has moved to the orange tier of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The statewide system dictates when businesses can open and how. In the orange tier, bars could begin outdoor operations, wineries could open indoors and amusement parks, including the boardwalk, could open with restrictions. Capacity could also increase at movie theaters, places of worship, restaurants, museums, retail and gyms.

A Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk spokesperson tells KION they have not decided how they will reopen. However, a decision will be made in the coming days.

"We are currently reviewing the state’s reopening guidelines for amusement parks to understand how and when the Boardwalk can reopen rides and other attractions. The safety of our employees and guests will remain our top priority whenever we reopen," Boardwalk spokesperson Kris Reyes said.

The Boardwalk's bowling alley will open Wednesday.

The Santa Cruz County Chamber of Commerce CEO Casey Beyer said there is a lot the Santa Cruz Seaside Company will have to weigh in its decision.

“The question comes to that business, 'okay how do we ramp up with our employees, which are seasonal, and what’s the level that makes economic sense?'. Is that level high enough to make sense to bring back employees for a real reduced structured event?” Beyer said.

When a county moves to the orange tier, this is what changes:

  • Retail may open indoors at full capacity with modifications
  • Shopping centers and malls may open at full capacity indoors, but common areas must remain closed and food courts may operate at reduced capacity
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums may open indoors at 50% capacity with modifications
  • Places of worship may open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is lower, with modifications
  • Movie theaters may open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is lower, with modifications
  • Hotel and motel fitness centers may open at 25% capacity and indoor pools may reopen
  • Gyms and fitness centers may open indoors at 25% capacity with modifications, and indoor pools may reopen.
  • Restaurants may open indoors at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is lower, with modifications
  • Wineries may open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower, with modifications
  • Bars, breweries and distilleries may open outdoors with modifications
  • Family entertainment centers may open indoors for naturally distanced activities at 25% capacity with modifications, and bowling alleys are part of that.
  • Cardrooms may open indoors at 25% capacity with modifications
  • Offices may open indoors with modifications, but telework is encouraged
  • Live audience sports may open outdoors only with a maximum capacity of 20%, and it is only open to regional visitors who live within 120 miles. Advanced reservations, assigned seating and in-seat concessions only will be required.
  • Smaller amusement parks may reopen at 25% capacity or 500 people, whichever is lower, and only outdoor attractions will be allowed. They will only be open to in-county visitors, and advanced reservations will be required.

Santa Cruz County has had a total of 2,821 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and 207 of those are active. 25 people have died in the county. The county's adjusted case rate is at 3.5, its positivity rate is at 2.1% and it is at 4.1% in the health equity quartile positivity rate.

Read more about what is allowed in each tier assignment here.

UPDATE 10/27/2020 11:10 a.m. Santa Cruz County health officials say there has been an improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases around the county, and they say that Gov. Gavin Newsom may announce a movement to the orange tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The statewide system dictates when businesses can open and how. In the orange tier, bars could begin outdoor operations, wineries could open indoors and amusement parks, including the boardwalk, could open with restrictions. Capacity could also increase at movie theaters, places of worship, restaurants, museums, retail and gyms.

Santa Cruz County is currently in the red tier.

Officials also provided an update on the Watsonville Post Acute Center, which recently had a COVID-19 outbreak. Out of 74 residents, 50 have tested positive and 21 staff members have tested positive since the outbreak began in September. A total of 18 residents have died, including 15 Santa Cruz County residents. There have been no recent new cases and the outbreak has stabilized, according to county health officer Dr. Gail Newel.

PREVIOUS STORY: Officials with Santa Cruz County Public Health are expected to provide an update on COVID-19 in the county during a press conference Tuesday.

A county official tells KION that they are expected to talk about the tiers within the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the system for determining when businesses can reopen. Santa Cruz County is currently in the red tier.

There are a total of 2,821 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county, and 25 people have died.

Coronavirus / News / Santa Cruz County / Top Stories

Avery Johnson

Avery Johnson is the Digital Content Director at KION News Channel 5/46.

Drew Andre

Drew Andre is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.

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