On November 16, 2020, California officials pulled an “emergency brake” and announced that the state would be rolling back reopenings in 28 counties across the state. These changes will go into effect on Tuesday, November 17. Los Angeles County has consistently remained in the purple tier, which prohibits indoor dining, closes bars and breweries, and allows malls and retail at 25% capacity. However, San Diego County, Ventura County and Orange County were in Tier 2 and have now moved into a more restrictive tier.
Under California’s COVID-19 tier system, Tier 1 (purple/widespread) is defined as being the highest risk of community disease transmission. The four tiers are based on two factors: (1) the county’s positivity rate; and (2) the daily new cases for each 100,000 residents. A county is held to Tier 1 restrictions if it has higher than 8% testing positivity rate and more than 7 daily new cases per 100,000 county residents. Once the changes are made, 94% of Californians will live in purple tier counties.
Also on November 16, 2020, the California Department of Public Health also announced new, expansive guidance for the use of face coverings. The updated guidance mandates that a face covering is “required at all times when outside of the home,” unless a specific exemption applies. These exemptions include actively eating or drinking, outdoors and six feet apart from others, and working in an office or room alone. The guidance supersedes the guidance issued in June, which required face coverings only in high-risk situations such as inside indoor public space and while riding public transportation.