Riverside County officially shifted from the purple tier down to the red tier of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy plan March 17.
This means that Riverside County can begin reopening businesses at 25% capacity, or 100 guests maximum. Included in these businesses are churches, movie theaters and restaurants with indoor dining.
Brooke Federico, public information officer for Riverside County, said the red tier is good news for the county and is a sign that it is beating the virus.
“It’s been five months since we were last in the red tier, which was short-lived, but we’re hopeful this downward path will continue,” Federico said. “This is the most a lot of businesses have been able to open up, and it’s important to help them get back on their feet.”
The county was in the red tier in September but saw a spike in cases during the holiday season. However, the numbers began to decline in California in February. The COVID-19 numbers nationally are continuing to decline at a steady pace.
Phil Pitchford, public information officer for the city of Riverside, said the new tier is a good sign for the future of the city of Riverside in terms of beating the virus.
“It is always encouraging to see our region take steps that will allow more of our businesses to reopen to begin the economic recovery from COVID-19,” Pitchford said. “On a larger scale, it means we are headed in the right direction in terms of beating back the virus, which is excellent news and a testament to members of our community who have been getting tested, wearing masks, maintaining physical distancing and washing their hands.”
Students at California Baptist University are relieved that the vaccines appear to be working. Kristie Wiseman, sophomore, biomedical science major said she is glad the virus is get- ting under control.
“It feels really good, and that we’re making good progress, because we’ve been in the purple tier for a while,” Wiseman said. “Going in the right direction is really good because we can start returning to a more normal environment.”
Pitchford added that although it’s a positive thing that the numbers are down, washing hands and social distancing is still important to transition down into the orange tier.
Although some of the numbers are currently within the orange tier in the reopening plans, the county must stay in the orange tier range for three weeks before officially moving into this tier.
The orange tier, or phase 3 of the reopening plan, allows for more guests at indoor restaurants, movie theaters and other places of business.
President Joe Biden said he has set a goal to make all adults eligible for coronavirus vaccination by May 1.