Monterey County moved out of the state’s most restrictive reopening tier Tuesday, the last county in the greater Bay Area region to do so since a stay-at-home order was lifted in January.
Monterey County became eligible to move out of the purple tier last week, when state health officials announced they would loosen the COVID-19 case and test positivity rate thresholds required to change tiers.
The move to the red tier will allow the county to resume indoor operations at 10-25 percent capacities for a litany of businesses such as restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and museums.
In addition, outdoor stadiums and amusement parks in Monterey County will be allowed to reopen at 20 percent and 15 percent capacity, respectively, as of April 1.
“Monterey County residents have shown continued commitment to wearing masks, social distancing, and staying outdoors as much as possible when interacting with people outside their household,” Monterey County Health Officer and Public Health Director Dr. Edward Moreno said in a statement. “These actions make a difference.”
The tier change will also enable all schools with students in grades K-12 to resume in-person instruction in some form once they have publicly posted a safety plan for five days.
Schools in Monterey County will have three weeks to reopen regardless of whether the county moves back into the purple tier, according to the county’s Office of Education.
County Superintendent Dr. Denee Guss said educators are “thrilled” by the tier change and the opportunity to reopen.
“Schools are continuing to carefully consider the safety of students and staff as plans to return to in-person instruction are developed and will announce specific plans that meet their varied and individualized needs,” Guss said in a statement.
With the tier change, all 11 counties in the greater Bay Area are now out of the purple tier. Monterey County will be eligible to move into a lower tier as soon as April 7.
“This is no time to let our guard down,” Moreno said.