Plumas County turns yellow — with COVID that’s a good thing

By Debra Moore

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Plumas County is now in the least stringent tier for businesses amid coronavirus — yellow — after being in the orange since the new tier system began Aug. 28. That’s when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, designed to smooth the process of opening and closing businesses based on case and positivity rates.

Though it was expected, Public Health Director Andrew Woodruff made the formal announcement during he Board of Supervisors’ meeting this morning, wearing aptly a yellow shirt. “We are in yellow now. Plumas County is moving into the least restrictive tier. It’s really good news.”

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But what does that mean for daily life locally? Not too much unless you missed going to bars or want more elbow room during your workout. (The list below outlines the parameters of each tier.)

But here are some of the highlights: bars, wineries and brew pubs can now open with 50 percent capacity. In the orange tier, bars and breweries were limited to outdoors only, while wineries were capped at 25 percent.

Restaurants remain at 50 percent capacity.

Hair salons, retail and personal care services remain unchanged. They were open in orange; they remain open in yellow.

Movie theaters remain at 50 percent capacity; as do places of worship.

Fitness centers get a boost; they can operate at 50 percent capacity as opposed to 25 percent.

Data determines which tier a county falls in based on two leading health metrics: number of cases per 100,000 residents and percentage of COVID-19 tests that come back positive. Initially a county could not move from a more restrictive tier to a less restrictive tier until the county had been on that tier for at least 21 days, even if the case number and positivity rates decreased.

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To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. If a county’s metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks, it will be assigned a more restrictive tier. Each time a county moves to a different tier, it needs to remain there for at least three weeks.