More of SLO County can reopen as coronavirus cases decrease

Sep 22, 2020

More businesses can reopen effective immediately in San Luis Obispo County. On Tuesday the county’s public health officer said the county has qualified to move into the less-restrictive ‘red tier,’ according to the state’s framework for reducing the number of coronavirus cases.

San Luis Obispo’s case rate and positivity rate have remained under a certain threshold for two consecutive weeks, so the risk of contracting COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County is now considered ‘substantial’ rather than ‘widespread.’ That designation means more businesses can reopen indoor operations, like restaurants.

The red tier state’s ‘Blueprint for a Safer Economy’ allows for indoor dining at restaurants, but only at 25 percent capacity or 100 people at a time, which is the fewer number of people. Same goes for churches, museums and movie theaters. Wineries can still be open for outdoor service, but bars and breweries are still closed. Gyms can also open indoors, but only at ten percent capacity.

Personal care businesses like nail salons are also now free to reopen indoors, as long as they follow the state’s guidelines for safe operation. Salon customers will encounter masked and gloved technicians, with significant cleaning and sanitizing requirements.

While county health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein called the move to a different tier a ‘small success,’ the announcement was couched in caution.

“Outdoor operations remain the safest environment to slow the spread of COVID-19 and should be supported whenever feasible,” Borenstein said in the county’s announcement. “If we see an increase in the spread of COVID-19 here, we will move back to purple and most indoor operations will close again very soon.”

In its contact tracing of positive cases within the county, the public health department says one of the riskiest situations for contracting COVID-19 is a gathering, where people of different households come together and spend a while eating and drinking together.

Find detailed information about what moving to the red tier means for SLO County businesses and sectors here.