Orange Tier is the new standard – Times Publishing Group, Inc.
By Jondi Gumz
With 153,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine administered and new cases at last June’s levels, Santa Cruz County moved up to Orange on March 31, allowing businesses to expand their operations after three weeks of restrictions.
Restaurants, cinemas, museums, and places of worship can operate at 50% capacity and retail stores can operate at full capacity – no queues to enter the grocery store.
Wineries can operate indoors at 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is less.
Gyms and fitness centers can increase indoor capacity by 25 percent; Yoga and dance studios can open indoors at 25% capacity. Indoor swimming pools, climbing halls and bowling alleys can be opened.
Breweries and bars can open outdoors.
Events with live audiences can be held outdoors at 33% capacity, and the Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce is announcing plans to host the Art & Wine Festival August 21-22.
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk plans to reopen the rides on April 1 under state guidelines that allow all visitors to California to visit amusement parks with a 25 percent capacity.
From June 1, the state will allow overnight camps, another return to normal.
Office spacing survey
On March 24, Scotts Valley Superintendent Tanya Krause said parents would be questioned after spring break on new federal and state guidelines stating that a three-foot distance between offices provides protection. The three-foot change is only for classrooms and only between students, she noted.
The previous six-foot requirement is why Scotts Valley and County Public Schools have adopted hybrid schedules, bringing half of the students on campus on a work-study basis. Private schools, with smaller class sizes, had space, but public schools did not.
Research on protective distance is scarce, and Indiana has changed its requirement to three feet, following World Health Organization guidelines. An MIT study this summer concluded that the distancing rules are based on outdated science and that factors such as ventilation and occupancy and exposure time made a difference.
In a March 24 letter to parents, all local school superintendents said moving from a hybrid schedule to a full reopening “would require vast environmental changes in classrooms and an overhaul of our teaching programs.” , with certain conditions requiring negotiations with the bargaining units.
The letter added, “However, we are confident that as long as community transmission of COVID-19 remains low, all public schools in Santa Cruz County will be fully open to in-person instruction in the fall of 2021.”
High school cross-country teams, following safety protocols, were the first to complete their season – and it was COVID-free.
On March 26, the state announced guidelines for graduation ceremonies, which parents have been eagerly awaiting.
The orange level allows young people and adults to play soccer, basketball, water polo and soccer outdoors and participate in gymnastics, pickleball and singles tennis indoors.
Reopening of the economy
The potential for economic recovery is enormous.
Cabrillo College of Aptos receives $ 16 million in federal COVID relief in the $ 1.9 trillion package signed by President Biden.
The city of Scotts Valley receives $ 2.2 million with millions more going to the county, Watsonville, Santa Cruz and Capitola.
The assistance program includes $ 25 billion for restaurants with grants to be made by the federal small business administration, $ 7.25 billion for the paycheck protection loan forgiveness program for small businesses and nonprofits applying to a bank, $ 15 billion in advance grants from targeted disaster loans the SBA, and $ 16 billion in grants to closed entertainment venues, also by the through the SBA.
From mid-November to mid-March, the pandemic kept restaurants, gyms and cinemas from opening indoors, shedding thousands of jobs and pushing unemployment up to 8.4%.
The orange leveling came as predicted by Dr. Gail Newel Newel, Santa Cruz County health official, as the spread of the contagious coronavirus slowed to a trickle.
The adjusted case rate fell to 2 per day per 100,000 people with the test positivity rate at 0.8%. If the case rate is less than 1 per day per 100,000 population, the county would qualify for the yellow level, which has fewer restrictions.
CineLux Scotts Valley, which improved ventilation and added seat spacing, began showing movies on March 26.
The Seymour Center of Santa Cruz in person announced the Ocean Explorers Summer Camp for Kids, with applications expected on April 7. Santa Cruz Shakespeare is planning a small outdoor live season in July and August. The Santa Cruz County Arts Council plans to take over the studios that opened in October.
Family members can visit loved ones in nursing homes and assisted living centers after a year of separation to prevent the contagious coronavirus from spreading.
COVID-19 has claimed the lives of 57,900 Californians.
Deaths in Santa Cruz County peaked at 200, with 51 percent of deaths in nursing homes and assisted living centers. Locally, 79 percent of those who died were 70 or older and 78 percent had other health problems.
One year after the start of the pandemic, with 18 million vaccines administered and case rates falling, 36 counties are in the red level and 17 in the orange level.
Two cases of the B117 variant, which spreads more easily, were reported in January and February, but Newel said an outbreak planned for March and April due to variants was unlikely.
The county reported just two people hospitalized for COVID on Wednesday, including one in intensive care, only 188 active cases and 123,000 negative test results.
With 153,000 doses administered to residents of the county, that’s over half the population.
The state has demanded that 70% of doses go to people aged 65 and over who are at greater risk of dying, 30% to those in riskier jobs – and 10% to educators and educators.
Newel urged everyone to get vaccinated once eligible and, in the meantime, wear masks and practice social distancing in public to protect unvaccinated seniors and those who are medically vulnerable.
Anyone wishing an appointment for a vaccine is advised to register for the My tour.ca.gov, the new app, but there is no guaranteed appointment as the state continues to expand eligibility before vaccine supply.
As of April 1, people aged 50 and over will be able to make an appointment.
Starting April 15, anyone 16 and over will be eligible.
With the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine now delivered with the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, the supply situation is expected to improve.
A new option is the Kaiser Permanente Vaccination Clinic at the Kaiser Arena in Santa Cruz, which prioritizes members but allows non-members to register.
To check availability at CVS, RiteAid, and Walgreens, visit santacruzhealth.org and click the vaccine button. not
County 200 COVID Deaths
As of March 31
90 and more: 55 • 80 to 89: 61 • 70 to 79: 42 • 60 to 69: 27 • 50 to 59: 5 • 40 to 49: 6 • 30 to 39: 4
Race / ethnicity
White: 111 • Latinx: 72 • Asian: 15 • Black: 1 • Amer. Indian / Alaskan Native: 1
Yes: 155 • No: 45
Men: 97 • Women: 103
Skilled nursing / residential care
Santa Cruz Post Acute: 20 • Watsonville Post Acute: 18 • Pacific Coast Manor: 14 • Hearts & Hands Post Acute: 8 • Sunshine Villa: 7 • Aegis: 4 • Maple House 1: 4 • Valley Convalescent: 4 • Watsonville Nursing Center : 4 • Manoir Montecito: 3 • De Un Amor: 2 • Dominican oaks: 2 • Driftwood: 2 • Maison Hanover: 2 • Maison Érable II: 2 • Maison Rachelle 1: 2 • Villa Paradis: 1 • Maison Rachelle II: 1 • Valley Haven: 1 • Westwind: 1
Not in one facility: 98
COVID cases by city
Aptos: 763 • Ben Lomond: 111 • Boulder Creek: 141 • Capitola: 435 • Felton: 144 • Freedom: 956 • Santa Cruz: 3,654 • Scotts Valley: 408 • Soquel: 342 • Watsonville: 7,927
Unincorporated: 245 • Under investigation: 237
Source: Santa Cruz County Public Health
For more details on what can open in the Orange level, see covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy.
Editor’s Note: Would you like to share your family’s COVID-19 story? Email Jondi Gumz at [email protected] or call 831-688-7549 x17.
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