After several months of being under the most restrictive pandemic-related closures, San Luis Obispo County health officials are optimistic that further reopening could be just days away.
“We remain firmly in the purple tier; however, we are making progress,” said Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein, based on the state’s framework and the county's current metrics.
“Right now we are one week into the possibility of moving into the red tier," Borenstein said. "If our overall county positivity rate and our health equity test positivity rate remain in the orange tier for at least one more week.”
That means, SLO County could be moving forward into the less-restrictive tier as early as next week.
“It’s very good news for our community," Borenstein said. "It is good news for our businesses, it is good news for our schools.”
In the state’s purple tier, only elementary schools can resume in-person learning, but in the red tier all schools can re-open campuses.
The red tier also allows restaurants, movie theaters, gyms and museums to reopen their indoor services, but with limited capacity, and other businesses, such as retail, could increase their capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent.
But Borenstein cautions not to relax on COVID-19 precautions.
“I very much support us moving forward with business openings," Borenstein said. "I very much want to see our schools back in business and say congratulations to our community. But you please need to continue to do everything that we’ve been asking so we can stay in this downturn and stay moving forward."
SLO County was in the red tier in November, but a post-Halloween surge forced the county back into lockdown.
Health officials are hopeful there won’t be a post-Super Bowl spike that may inhibit reopening progress.