LA, San Francisco Move to Lowest Tier for Covid Restrictions

Los Angeles and San Francisco entered California’s least-restrictive tier for economic reopenings, increasing capacity for a wide range of businesses and private gatherings as the state tamps down new Covid-19 cases.

Restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can expand to 50% of their regular occupancy. Bars will be able to open at 25% capacity indoors. Stadiums and other outdoor events may expand to as much as 67% of capacity. The new health orders will go into effect Thursday.

“This new tier matches the sunny optimism of the season,” Los Angeles County’s board of supervisors said in a statement Tuesday.

L.A. County, the nation’s most populous, reported no new deaths from the disease on each of the past two days, while hospitalizations dropped to under 400. It marks a sharp turnaround from just a few months ago, when more than 200 people a day were dying from the virus during a massive winter surge.

California has seen its case counts and deaths continue to drop in recent weeks, even as infections rise again in neighboring Oregon and Washington. The state has administered more than 30 million vaccines, while its test positivity rate has fallen to 1.1%, among the lowest in the nation.

Governor Gavin Newsom, facing a recall tied to his handling of the pandemic, is targeting a full reopening of California’s economy on June 15 if trends continue. As of Tuesday, about 28% of the state’s population was in the least-restrictive yellow tier or set to move to it this week.

In San Francisco, new cases have been averaging just 26 a day and the number of people in the hospital with the virus fell to below 20, the lowest it’s been in more than a year.

“This is an incredible milestone for us to hit as we move forward on our path to recovery,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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