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Red means its OK for indoor dining again
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San Joaquin County improving to red in the four-tier pandemic re-opening plan developed by the state doesn’t mean the end of outdoor dining anytime soon.

Even though restaurants as of Tuesday could start serving patrons indoors they can only do so at 25 percent capacity and as long as the number doesn’t exceed 100. Restaurants contacted by the Bulletin indicated they will continue to provide outdoor dining options as 25 percent indoor capacity is significantly below their pre-COOVID-19 pandemic business levels.

The next tier back toward normalcy — orange — will allow restaurants to operate indoor dining rooms at 50 percent capacity as long as it doesn’t exceed 200 people. The fourth and final tier before restrictions are lifted keeps the indoor capacity limit at 50 percent with no upper cap.

The decision by the state to move San Joaquin County from purple — the highest tier of four in terms of the severity of COVID-19 and accompanying restrictions — to red allows for more business openings.

Gyms and health clubs can now open but only at 10 percent capacity.

Being in the red allows retail operations to go from 25 percent to 50 percent capacity. Body waxing salons and tattoo parlors along with other personal services can open indoors with modifications. Cultural ceremonies will be allowed at whichever is lowest — 25 percent capacity or 100 people.

Theaters can open with 25 percent capacity of 100 people, whichever is less. The same limits apply to places of worship.

Businesses that are open for inside operations with modifications are hair salons, barbershops, and nail salons while wineries as well as family entertainment centers can open for outside operations.

San Joaquin County was moved down to red after getting its positivity rate from new cases down to 5 percent or below for at least two weeks.

The third tier which is orange requires a daily new case positivity rate between 1 and 3.9 cases per 100,000.

When San Joaquin County eventually moves into the orange, gyms can operate at 25 percent capacity while restaurants at 50 percent capacity or 200 people, whichever is less.

This stage allows bars and other locations that serve alcoholic beverages without meals to open outdoor operations. Cardrooms can move indoor with 25 percent capacity. Family entertainment centers cam open indoors for what is described as “naturally distanced” activities such as bowling alleys and climbing walls as long as they adhere to medications and capacity is capped at 25 percent.

Cultural ceremonies can be at 50 percent capacity as long as it is still below 100 people.

The fourth tier is yellow and requires being under a 2 percent daily positive rate for new cases.

Gyms can operate at 50 percent capacity in the yellow tier. Restaurants are still at 50 percent capacity but there is no numeric cap on the overall number.

Most indoor businesses can open at this point with modifications.

“I want to thank all of the residents and the businesses for helping us to keep our cases low by getting tested, wearing masks, and keeping socially distant. If we continue to be vigilant, we can continue to move forward and reopen San Joaquin County,” said Dr. Maggie Park, who serves as the director of the San Joaquin County Health Department. “As we start to enter the fall season, it is more important than ever to continue to follow the rules by restricting gatherings, wearing face coverings, washing hands and social distancing, to not only prevent the spread of COVID-19 but to help with flu and other deadly diseases.”

San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors Chair Kathy Miller lauded the move to the red tier as “certainly a step in the right direction.”

“It shows that residents are following public health recommendations and their hard work is paying off and enabling the County to finally get the upper hand on COVID-19,” Miller said. “While I’m cautiously optimistic, we must continue to be diligent in our daily safety routines in order to keep businesses open, get kids back inside schools and get lives back to normal.”


Updated COVID conditions

Postings on the San Joaquin County COVID-19 dashboard on Tuesday as 11:30 a.m. show 1,249 persons out of 776.000 San Joaquin County residents are currently positive with the virus although they are not necessarily sick. That is the number once you subtract the 19,106 people that health officials have determined to have recovered from the 20,357 cases since March

Many of the recovered may never have been ill. The mask order and social distancing is designed to protect people from those who may not know they are carrying the virus and who may never show symptoms.

There were 112 new cases on Tuesday

There have been 447 deaths in San Joaquin County. Of those, 11.4 percent did not have pre-existing conditions such as asthma, obesity, cardiovascular disease, chronic lung disease, or diabetes

There were 35 COVID-19 patients countywide  as of Monday with 13 using ICU beds.

There were no COVID-19 patients at Doctors Hospital of Manteca and only one non-ICU patient at Kaiser Manteca Hospital.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email