San Diego County moves to orange tier and vaccine eligibility expands

by Josh Petrofsky, Staff Writer

San Diego County moved into the orange tier of California’s COVID-19 prevention framework last Wednesday, April 7. The move comes after San Diego County has achieved a case rate of less than six infections per 100,000 county residents.

Moving to the orange tier will shift the restrictions that various businesses have to meet to be allowed to be open. Restaurants can now have up to 50% capacity indoors or a 200 person capacity, whichever is fewer and curfews will be lifted. Gyms will now be allowed to have a 25% capacity indoors and will be allowed to open indoor pools. Movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and places of worship will all be allowed to have up to 50% capacity. Additionally, retail stores will no longer have capacity limits.

San Diego county had previously moved to the red tier on March 17 after the state vaccinated 2 million people in . California has now vaccinated over 4 million residents

San Diego County’s current case rate as of April 9 is 5.8 infections per 100,000 residents.

Additionally, the county’s current testing positivity rate is around 1%. 

San Diego County has received over 2.2 million doses of the three approved COVID-19 vaccines with around 2 million of those doses have been administered to county residents. On April 13, San Diego County paused distribution of the Johnson & Johnson in accordance with federal guidance. 

Currently all residents over the age of 50 are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Residents aged 16-49 are also eligible if they have an eligible pre-existing medical condition. All residents over the age of 16 will be eligible to receive a vaccine starting April 15. 

As announced by Governor Newsom last week, California will be eliminating the COVID-19 tier system starting June 15 if case rates continue to trend downward, as they have been since the COVID-19 vaccine has become more available to California residents. The mask mandate implemented by Governor Newsom will stay in effect after June 15.

More information can be found about San Diego County’s COVID-19 response here.