An increase in the average number of new coronavirus cases threatens to send Fresno County back into a more restrictive tier of economic reopening as businesses and residents adjust to resuming indoor operations under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Fresno County last week was promoted by the state Department of Public Health from purple Tier 1, the most restrictive level of color-coded tiers, into red Tier 2, based on the county’s improvement in both its rate of new cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of people testing positive for the virus.
On Tuesday, Fresno County continued to be assigned to the red tier, under which restaurants can offer indoor dining at up to 25% capacity, churches can hold services inside at 25% capacity, and gyms and health clubs can operate at 10% of their indoor capacity.
But the state noted that Fresno is one of only three counties that last week failed to meet the mark to stay in their current tier. Fresno’s case rate rose to 7.2 cases per 100,000 residents, above the threshold of seven cases. Under the blueprint guidelines, if a county backslides on either of the two key metrics for two consecutive weeks, it could be reassigned back into the more restrictive tier.
That means clamping down once again on indoor dining, church services and fitness gym workouts, as well as indoor movie theaters and other indoor operations. Retailers, which under red Tier 1 have been allowed to operate at 50% capacity, would have to cut back to 25%.
Fresno County continues to meet the threshold for testing positivity rates, with 5.3% of tests coming back positive for the virus. The red-tier maximum is under 8%.