The County of San Mateo, Calif. logo (Photo courtesy of the City of San Mateo)

San Mateo County returned to the state’s “orange tier” on Tuesday, meaning that COVID-19 restrictions will loosen for businesses starting Wednesday.

It is the first of the nine Bay Area counties to return to the orange tier this year.

Starting 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, additional businesses can reopen and others can increase their indoor capacity. Indoor dining and places of worship will be allowed at 50 percent capacity while gyms and fitness studios can operate at 25 percent capacity. Bars will be able to open outdoors for the first time in months while breweries, distilleries and wineries can open indoors with limited capacity.

The county’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to improve, which allowed the move from the red Tier 2 to the less restrictive orange Tier 3.

For the week ending March 6, San Mateo County had an adjusted case rate of 2.8 cases per 100,000, down from 3 the previous week. The test positivity rate was 1.1 percent and the health equity quartile positivity rate, which reflects infection rates in the county’s most disadvantaged areas, was 1.9 percent.

San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa said in a statement that the move was an important milestone for the county and that residents should be proud.

“I feel like the sun is shining again on San Mateo County as moving to the Orange Tier marks that we are making a true comeback,” Canepa said.

However, he encouraged people to continue respecting health orders and practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing, avoiding large gatherings and wearing a mask.

“This is the time to remain strong as a community and to help those around us so that we can continue to open up our economy further,” Canepa said.

In the orange tier, family entertainment centers that could only operate outdoors can now move some activities indoors with limited capacity. Cultural ceremonies — such as weddings — can open indoors at 50 percent capacity, though indoor receptions are strongly discouraged.

The move to the orange tier does not impact the school reopening process, as schools could already reopen in the red tier pending approval from the San Mateo County Office of Education. More than half of public, private and charter schools in the county have returned students to campus for in-person learning, according to a Tuesday newsletter from the Office of Education.

Personal care services such as body waxing studios, tattoo parlors, hair salons and barbershops can continue to open indoors with modifications.

To check which businesses and activities are allowed in the county, people can visit https://covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ and type “San Mateo.”