“We are turning a critical corner,” California’s top health official said as he announced the state is lifting regional stay-at-home orders.
The orders applied to Southern California, San Joaquin Valley, and Bay Area regions, encompassing over 90% of the state’s population. The four-week intensive care unit capacity projections for these regions are above 15%, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the threshold that allows regions to exit the order.
“Californians heard the urgent message to stay home as much as possible and accepted that challenge to slow the surge and save lives,” Dr. Tomás Aragón, CDPH Director said in a news release. “Together, we changed our activities knowing our short-term sacrifices would lead to longer-term gains. COVID-19 is still here and still deadly, so our work is not over, but it’s important to recognize our collective actions saved lives and we are turning a critical corner.”
Southern California and San Joaquin Valley regions have been under the state order since Dec. 6 and the Bay area since Dec. 17. The mandate, aimed at slowing the spread of Covid-19, instructed residents to stay home as much as possible and not mix with other households. It closed hair salons, museums, movie theaters, and restricted restaurants to take-out only service.
The other two areas, Northern California and Greater Sacramento, are not currently under the order. The mandate was triggered when intensive care unit capacity in a region falls below 15%.
Counties not under the regional order will abide by the state’s four-color tiering system:
- Purple tier signals widespread risk and closes many non-essential indoor businesses.
- Red is substantial risk and some non-essential indoor business operation are closed.
- Orange is moderate and closes some businesses with modifications.
- Yellow is minimal risk and allows most indoor businesses to operate with modifications.
The CDPH said the majority of the counties of the San Joaquin Valley, Bay Area, and Southern California regions are in the purple tier, the strictest. Outdoor dining and personal services may resume with modifications required by local jurisdictions.