Indoor dining can now reopen at 25 percent in Marin and San Mateo counties after the two moved out of the state's most-restrictive pandemic reopening tier. (Photo courtesy Kevin Spencer/Flickr)

San Mateo and Marin counties moved out of the state’s most-restrictive COVID-19 reopening tier Tuesday, the first two Bay Area counties to do so since the regional stay-at-home order was lifted last month.

State public health officials moved San Mateo County out of the most-restrictive purple tier after the county’s average number of new cases per day per 100,000 residents fell below seven, its test positivity rate fell below 8 percent and because of its low case rate in low-income census tracts as measured by the state’s California Healthy Places Index.

Marin County moved out of the purple tier thanks to its sub-8 percent positivity rate and its low case rate in low-income census tracts, according to county officials.

“We’ve focused on our hardest-hit communities, and it seems to be paying off,” Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said. “It’s especially encouraging to see this progress as we move toward vaccinating essential workers.”

Whereas most business sectors were required to operate outdoors or remain closed under purple tier restrictions, the tier changes will allow both counties to resume indoor operations at 10-25 percent capacities for businesses like gyms, restaurants, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums.

The tier changes will also enable schools in both counties to resume some form of in-person instruction if they have yet to do so. However, school districts can still keep schools shuttered if they deem it necessary.

Officials in both counties encouraged residents to continue following the public health guidance like mask wearing and socially distancing that allowed local infection rates to fall.

“This is great news for our small businesses and our entire community,” county Supervisor David Canepa said. “And this move is a direct result of all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions.”

Marin County Health and Human Services Department Secretary Benita McLarin added that continuing to follow public health guidance will enable both counties to enter tiers with even fewer restrictions on businesses.

“Mask wearing, maintaining physical distance from people you don’t live with, good hand hygiene and regular COVID-19 testing are easy steps everyone can take to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” McLarin said.

The state’s county-level industry guidelines can be found at