Mariposa County moves into less-restrictive orange tier

MARIPOSA, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Central California's transmission rate continues to move in a positive direction, the COVID metrics for reopening are still not yet where they need to be for most of the Valley.

However, Mariposa County was the lone local region to move into a less restrictive tier following the state's announcement Tuesday.

"For businesses, a lot of things that had been limited to being outdoors or have a lot of modifications indoors, those things get easier," says Dr. Eric Sergienko.

Bars can now open, while wineries can move indoors after Mariposa County was allowed to move from Red to Orange.

The shift also means indoor businesses can operate with up to 50% capacity, while hotels and other lodging can be less restrictive just in time for what's expected to be a busy season for tourism.

"If we time it well, it's just before Spring Break, so we'll be able to handle more visitors, so I think that's a positive thing," Dr. Sergienko said.

In the meantime -- all other Central California counties must stay in the most restrictive purple tier -- including Fresno.

"It's very important for all of us to get reopened as soon as we can do it safely and we're really happy to see the numbers going in the right direction," says Fresno Chamber of Commerce President Scott Miller.

The state's three requirements for counties to move from purple to red are fewer than 8% of all COVID tests coming back positive, fewer than 8% of COVID tests from disadvantaged neighborhoods coming back positive and fewer than seven new cases per day per 100,000 residents.

Miller remains optimistic the county can achieve these conditions within the next week or two as COVID-19 cases drop and vaccinations increase.

"If I had to guess, which I do because I am not an expert in that category, it looks like things are improving pretty rapidly," he said. "We're certainly hopeful that the next announcement will include us."

The state announced last week that once 2 million vaccine doses have been administered in disadvantaged neighborhoods -- it will make it easier for counties to move from the purple to the red tier.
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