Eight counties this week improved from the red tier to the orange tier. Those counties include Alameda, Butte, Colusa, Los Angeles, Modoc, Orange, Santa Cruz, and Tuolumne counties. Five counties moved from the purple to red tier: Fresno, Glenn, Kings, Madera, and Yuba counties.
Counties that move tiers on Tuesday are able to loosen their guidelines for businesses and activities starting the following Wednesday using the blueprint put forward by the California Department of Public Health.
Counties can move tiers after remaining on the tier they are on for a minimum of three weeks and keeping their numbers down to the next tiers' standards for two consecutive weeks.
Merced, San Bernardino, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Siskiyou, Sonoma, and Ventura counties could be eligible to move to a less restrictive tier next week if their numbers stay low. No counties are currently at risk of moving back a tier next week. The latest tier adjustment leaves just three counties statewide still in the most-restrictive purple tier: Inyo, Merced, and San Joaquin counties.
California has tied its reopening plan to its efforts to vaccinate within communities with people who are more likely to struggle from contracting the coronavirus. California first accelerated reopening starting Feb. 12 when the state changed the guidelines for counties to move to the red tier, coinciding with when the state hit over 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in less healthy communities.
Within the next couple of weeks, California should surpass its goal of vaccinating 4 million residents under those qualifications. Then the state will make it easier for counties to be in the orange and yellow tiers of its reopening plan.