Long Beach, Pasadena Reopen In Yellow Tier Today; Los Angeles Officials Waiting Until Tomorrow

While Los Angeles County will wait until tomorrow to loosen business restrictions in accordance with its move into the least-restrictive Yellow tier of the state’s economic-reopening blueprint, Pasadena and Long Beach enacted eased guidelines today, including the reopening of indoor bars.

Weekly statistics released by the state Tuesday showed L.A. county’s rate of daily new Covid-19 infections has fallen to 1.6 per 100,000 residents, down from 1.9 last week. Reaching the Yellow tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy requires a county to have a new-case rate less than 2 per 100,000 residents, and maintain that level for two consecutive weeks.

Los Angeles is the only Southern California county to advance to the Yellow tier. The rest of the region will remain in the Orange tier. Although the county officially qualified on Wednesday, it will not ease restrictions until Thursday.

Long Beach and Pasadena are in L.A. County, but both cities have their own health departments which issue separate orders. The cities quickly revised their local health orders and enacted eased Yellow-tier restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. The cities both aligned with state guidelines.

Entering the Yellow tier primarily allows higher capacity limits at most businesses. Under state guidelines, fitness centers, cardrooms, wineries and breweries, for instance, can increase indoor attendance to 50% of capacity, up from the current 25%; bars can open indoors at 25%; outdoor venues such as Dodger Stadium can increase capacity to 67%, up from the current 33%; and amusement parks can allow 35%, up from 25%.

Counties are permitted to impose tougher restrictions than the state allows, and Los Angeles County has done so occasionally during the pandemic. But Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said Monday the county plans to largely align with state Yellow-tier guidelines. Ferrer said those guidelines would be released on Wednesday.

In a statement announcing the move, Pasadena officials urged residents to continue exercising caution.

“Residents are reminded to stay diligent about COVID-19 protocols including wearing a mask in public, frequent hand washing, keeping distance from others, and staying home if you feel sick, even if you have been vaccinated,” according to the city. “The public is strongly urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”

As of April 30, just more than 8 million doses of vaccine had been administered in Los Angeles County, including roughly 5 million first doses and 3 million second doses. Ferrer said that roughly 37% of the county’s eligible population is fully vaccinated, meaning they have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. She said 65% of residents aged 65 and older are fully vaccinated.

The county on Tuesday announced 18 new Covid-19 deaths, following two consecutive days of no deaths. Those two days were attributed to lags in reporting from the weekend. According to county records, the last time there were no daily pandemic deaths recorded in L.A. was on March 18, 2020. That was also the last time there were two consecutive days with zero Covid-related deaths in the region. There were only 15 such deaths statewide on Monday.

On Saturday, L.A. County’s test positivity rate was at the lowest level of the pandemic: 0.6%.

The county also reported another 273 Covid cases on Tuesday, while Long Beach health officials added 38 and Pasadena two, bringing the overall pandemic total to 1,234,242.

According to state figures, there were 387 people hospitalized due to Covid in L.A. County as of Wednesday, down from 400 on Tuesday, with 93 people in intensive care, down from 97 Tuesday.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Monday that the state’s number of Covid-related hospitalizations is at an all-time low since the start of the pandemic. Coronavirus patients in CA were down from a January peak of nearly 23,000 to 1,626 on Monday.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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