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'Widespread' COVID-19: Siskiyou bumped to most restrictive reopening tier

Kelsey Shelton
Siskiyou Daily News
COVID

After a spike in COVID-19 cases in the county, the state of California Monday morning bumped Siskiyou into the most restrictive reopening tier.

The county skipped the red tier and went directly to purple, or "widespread" tier, as recommended by the state's COVID-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This brings more restrictions for Siskiyou County businesses.

Last week, 58 COVID-19 cases were reported in Siskiyou County, according to Siskiyou County Public Health's information dashboard.

'Sounding the alarm'

California Governor Gavin Newsom said he is “sounding the alarm” due to “the fastest increase California has seen" since the pandemic began, with COVID-19 cases doubling in the last 10 days. Cases rose 51.3% in the first week of November. The state hit the grim milestone of 1 million coronavirus cases last week. 

Under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which is its four-tiered, color-coded system for reopening, the state can tighten restrictions based on emergency situations. New rules added to the tier system dictate that:

• Counties will now move tiers after one week of increased COVID-19 cases instead of waiting two weeks.

• Some counties will move back multiple tiers if they are experiencing a significant increase.

• Businesses must shut down within 24 hours, instead of 72 hours when counties move tiers.

• The state will announce tier changes twice a week, instead of once a week.

What does purple mean for businesses?

The following business sectors that were previously allowed to open indoors will now be limited to outdoor or remote operations:

• Restaurants: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Places of worship: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Gyms and fitness Centers: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Movie theaters: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Museums: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Family entertainment centers: Can open outdoors only with modifications

• Offices (non-essential businesses): Can work remotely

The following businesses previously allowed to open indoors with capacity maximums may continue to be open indoors with reduced capacity:

• Retail: Can open with modifications – Max 25% capacity o Grocery store capacity must be limited to 50%

The following businesses previously allowed to open with modifications may continue to be open with modifications:

• Hotels and lodging

• Personal care services - Hair Salons, Nail Salons, Barbershops, Estheticians, Massage studios; Tattoo parlors, Piercing shops

• Limited Services - Carwashes, Dry Cleaners, Electricians, Handy-persons/general contractors, HVAC services, Landscapers, Laundromats, Pet Groomers, Plumbing services, Janitorial/cleaning services

These businesses should remain closed:

• Bars, breweries and distilleries: are prohibited from operating with the exception of those serving sit-down, outdoor meals.

• Schools: Schools that have already re-opened when the county was in a less restrictive tier do not have to close. However, if a school had not already reopened for in-person instruction, it may not reopen until the county moves back to the Substantial (Red) Tier for 14 days.

How do we move back?

To move forward, a county must meet the next tier’s criteria for two consecutive weeks. To advance into less restrictive tiers, Siskiyou County needs to have lower daily case rates. The most effective way to do that is to continue to practice preventive measures. We all need to do our part to protect the health and economy of the community.

• Avoid close contact and practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people and limit your interactions to less than 15 minutes - remember quick pass through with people may be tolerated but longer than 15 minutes puts a person more at risk.

• Wear a mask. Make sure your mask fits over your mouth and nose.

• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

• Stay home when you are sick. Except to get medical care.

• Wash your hands often (or use hand sanitizer). Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using soap and water. If you don’t have access to soap and water, then use hand sanitizer with 70% ethyl alcohol content.

• Avoid gatherings. Avoid gathering with non-household members.