April 7, 2021
California took a huge step toward full reopening by announcing its intention to lift all business restrictions under the “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” by mid-June, provided that hospitalizations remain low and vaccination rates remain high. The reopening will require some continued restrictions, including the statewide mask mandate.
Background: Blueprint for a Safer Economy
Since August 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, California has restricted business operations under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The blueprint was an attempt to use a scalpel, rather than a hatchet, to control the spread of the virus in the state. The plan provides a tier-based system to increase or loosen restrictions in each county based on two criteria: a county’s positive test rate, and the number of positive cases per 100,000 people. It assigns each one of California’s 58 counties a color-coded tier: widespread (purple), substantial (red), moderate (orange) and minimal (yellow). The tiers restrict various industry operations, such as restricting capacity and/or indoor operations. For example, restrictions for retail operations are as follows under the different tiers:
Widespread (purple): Open at 25 percent capacity
Substantial (red): Open at 50 percent capacity
Moderate (orange) and minimal (yellow): No capacity restrictions