Fresno, Kings, Merced counties pushed back to purple tier as COVID-19 cases rise

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As California sees a surge in coronavirus cases, Fresno, Kings and Merced counties are part of the 40 counties pushed back to a more restrictive tier in Gov. Gavin Newsom's reopening system.

RELATED: Newsom considering curfew as CA COVID-19 cases spike, 40 counties move to more restrictive tiers

Fresno, Kings and Merced counties are now in the most restrictive Purple tier after all three counties continuously reported an increase COVID-19 spread.

In Fresno County, hospitalizations have also increased over the last week. Hospitalizations were also starting to creep up again in Community Medical Center hospitals around the Valley, officials said last week.

So what does this mean for the three newly Purple counties?

Restaurants, churches, gyms and museums will have to discontinue indoor services within the next 24 hours. Malls and retail stores will have to decrease their customer capacity from 50% to 25%.

RELATED: Restaurants prepared for cold winter with new coronavirus restrictions

Fresno City leaders said all indoor dining activity for restaurants and other local businesses were going to be shut down from 11:59 pm Monday.

In a statement, Mayor Lee Brand said, "We expect our local businesses to comply voluntarily with the new restrictions while the City continues to focus on our policy to 'fix, not fine' in order to protect the health and safety of our residents. My own brush with COVID-19 reinforces the need for everyone to follow the guidelines and stop the spread of this pandemic."

Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias added in a statement, "We can't take any more chances with the safety of our community, so we all need to do our part to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 infection. Code Enforcement will continue to educate Fresno businesses to protect the public health and will reserve enforcement for egregious violators not following health guidelines. "

It's unclear how the other counties will go about enforcing the changes.

As for schools, campuses that have reopened to students already do not have to reclose.

A Clovis Unified spokesperson told Action News, many districts had planned for this. CUSD partly opened all of their schools on Monday morning so that their plans for complete in-person school scheduled to start up in January could go forward.

RELATED: Why some schools can reopen campuses even though Fresno County is back in 'purple tier'

Gov. Newsom issued new guidelines for how counties will be moved between tiers on Monday afternoon, adding if needed, the state will use an "emergency brake" to move counties across multiple tiers.

MAP: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules

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