Los Angeles County hits yellow tier threshold, restrictions could ease as soon as Wednesday

An outside patio with chairs and dining tables and two women sitting
Los Angeles County health officials issued a mandatory travel directive Dec. 30 requiring people who arrive into any region of California to self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. (Regan Rudman • The Student Life)

Los Angeles County reached the benchmark of less than two positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people which, if maintained for another week, qualifies the county for the least restrictive yellow tier of the state’s reopening plan as soon as May 5.

The positive case rate in LA County is now at 1.9 new cases per day per 100,000, a plummet  from the same rate in January — which was closer to 1,000 positives per 100,000 LA County residents . Cases have decreased 38 percent from just two weeks ago and have rapidly declined since early April, when the county entered the orange tier

In the yellow tier, gyms, places of worship, indoor restaurants, stadiums, bars and theme parks can all open with limited capacity. Lectures will also be allowed at 50 percent capacity.

The announcement came after California reached the lowest COVID-19 positivity and case rate in the nation. California’s last seven-day rate of COVID-19 cases was the lowest of any state and far below the U.S. average, according to the Los Angeles Times.  

The state is also making significant vaccination progress — as of Thursday night, more than 28 million people have already been vaccinated, 46.3 percent of Californians have received at least one dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, and 30.4 percent of the state is fully vaccinated, according an LA Times tracker. LA County is slightly below the state average of 29.6 percent of residents fully vaccinated.

The vaccination progress spurred Governor Gavin Newsom to permit all fully vaccinated Calfiornians to go maskless, so long as they are not in large crowds, Newsom announced in a tweet Tuesday. This announcement follows new guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

The progress in California and LA County is promising for the reopening of the Claremont Colleges in the fall, which would be after the state promises to reopen its economy.

Claremont McKenna College and Pomona College have already reopened limited recreational facilities for faculty, staff and students on an appointment basis, while Honnold Mudd Library opened its doors for in-person, faculty-only browsing April 15. 

All five undergraduate colleges will also provide limited summer housing for selected students in either on-campus or off-campus, college-sponsored residences.

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