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Ventura County enters ‘Orange Tier’ at midnight

VENTURA, Calif. -- On the same day Governor Gavin Newsom announced the state could fully reopen on June 15, Ventura County is now celebrating a big step towards normal life returning.

County leaders announced Tuesday that Ventura County will head into the even less restrictive 'Orange Tier' of the State’s reopening plan by midnight on Wednesday.

It was welcome news for local businesses and business owners.

This new tier means movie theaters, restaurants, churches, museums, zoos and aquariums can go from 25 percent capacity indoors to 50 percent. Breweries and wineries can now offer indoor services at 25 percent capacity. Gyms will go from 10 to 25 percent capacity, and this also means that theme parks, and family entertainment centers can resume indoor operations at 25 percent capacity. Retail capacity restrictions will also be lifted.

The least restrictive 'Yellow Tier', might not be that far away. The county has to stay in the 'Orange Tier' for three consecutive weeks and the case rate needs to drop below two for that to happen.

“Yesterday our testing positivity rate was 2 percent over the three days counted for the weekend,” said Robert Levin, who is the Ventura County Public Health Officer. “Today our our rate, those 10 cases, represents a rate of .5 percent which is well below what is required for us to get into the yellow tier.”

County leaders also said that nearly 45 percent of people in Ventura County have received at least on dose of the COVID vaccine. That is big news considering state wide just about 35 percent of people have received at least one dose. Public Health said that herd immunity will probably be achieved once 75-80 percent of the population is vaccinated. They are still urging the public to wear mask and be safe during this time.

“I am fearful that we will mistake liberalization for total return to normal and we are not there yet,” said Levin. “An unknown is how we will be protected if the younger members of the herd are not vaccinated and another unknown is how much protection partial herd immunity will give."

For the latest on coronavirus cases in Ventura County, click here.

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Senerey de los Santos

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