By Justin Milton
California has started to reopen more and more during the last several weeks. San Luis Obispo County moved out of the Purple tier and into the Red on March 2nd, with the numbers continuing to trend down statewide overall. Currently, almost 94% of California’s population is in a less restrictive tier (Red or Below), and over 10% are in the Orange and Yellow tier (Moderate and Minimal).
Vaccinations have played an important role in the improvement in COVID-19 that has resulted in more reopening. So far, about 26% of California’s population has gotten at least one dose and about 13% have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of March 23rd. Vaccines have been wasted only about 0.1% of the time. Getting vaccinated when you are able to, even if you have already had COVID-19, is important to ensure you still have adequate protection against it. All of the approved vaccines that are available offer similar benefits, and are all very effective at preventing hospitalization, serious illness and death and the side effects are less dangerous than the virus itself.
As of March 22nd, San Luis Obispo County residents who are 50 and older are eligible for vaccination. More information about vaccine distribution can be found here. Those who are eligible should register, with appointments being scheduled among registrants via a lottery.
As of March 25th, the California government has ruled that all residents 16+ will be eligible for the vaccine starting April 15th.
As San Luis Obispo moved forward in preventing the spread of COVID-19, the thresholds for qualifying for a lower tier were lowered on March 16th because we surpassed 2 million vaccinations in the lower quartile. Since 40% of cases are coming from this quartile, the more people that are vaccinated, the less COVID-19 spreads overall and the safer it is to reopen. Thresholds will be lowered further once we reach 4 million vaccinations in the lower quartile, with more information here.
What do the tiers mean, anyways? Well, each tier has individual requirements for businesses and activities. The Red tier, for example, allows schools to reopen K-12 after 5 days if they aren’t open already. Gyms and Fitness Centers can open at 10% capacity, stores (retail and mall) at 50%, and more. They are ordered from greatest to least restrictive, purple, red, orange, and yellow (widespread, substantial, moderate, and minimal). If San Luis Obispo County gets promoted to the Orange tier, then stores can go from 50% to full capacity with modifications, Gym and Fitness Centers from 10% to 25% capacity and more. You can find more information on tier restrictions here.