Ventura County moves into less restrictive orange tier, allowing increased indoor capacities for restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and churches


Ventura County COVID-19 news from Tuesday, April 6, 2021.

By Ryan Bough

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors met on April 6 to announce that Ventura County will be moving down to the orange tier at midnight. The orange tier allows movie theaters, restaurants, churches and museums to have 50% capacity, which is double the capacity that was previously allowed.

Other capacity increases include; Breweries and wineries are now allowed to offer in-door services at 25% capacity, gym capacity is increased from 10% to 25%, family entertainment centers may resume indoor operations at 25%, theme parks can open at 25% capacity, outdoor venues for live performances can open at 35% and all retail capacity restrictions have been lifted.

Ventura County joins 31 other California counties in the moderate orange tier including its neighbor to the east, Los Angeles County. However, Ventura County’s two other neighboring counties, Santa Barbara County and Kern County, currently remain in the substantial red tier.

Image courtesy of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy.
Image courtesy of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks reflected on the county’s ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 and offered the counties gratitude to those who made it possible.

“It’s really one of those things where we all have to come together and help each other and for that we want to thank the helpers and those who had to give more than others, to see that we are all protected from the spread of covid. So our thanks go out to all of those who have worked hard, who have struggled and who have helped us get to here today,“ said Parks.

Mike Powers, chief executive officer of Ventura County, spoke about the possibility of California completely reopening in the near future which was announced by California Governor Gavin Newsom on April 6.

“If the trends continue the way they are, the Governor plans to reopen the state on June 15 completely and that will be a very exciting day for our entire state. It won’t be county by county anymore. The tier structure will go away and so that is wonderful news,” explained Powers.

Powers added that the reopening will depend on the supply rate of the vaccine delivered to Californians and if the hospital rates of COVID patients remain low. There have been over 20 million vaccines distributed statewide, 4 million of which have gone to vulnerable communities.

Ventura County’s vaccine administration rate is 43.8%, according to Powers, which is roughly 460,000 residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Statewide the rate is 33.8% and nationwide it is 32.4%.

Image courtesy of Ventura County Recovers
Image courtesy of Ventura County Recovers

On April 15, the vaccine will be open to all residents 16 and older. While the supply of vaccinations to Ventura County from the state is still limited, Powers expects the supply to start increasing in the coming weeks.

As of April 6, there were ten positive COVID-19 cases reported out of 2,059 tests performed. Hospitalizations have remained at 23 patients with five in the ICU, which is down by two from the previous day. One death was reported from a few days ago, however, no new deaths were reported in the last three days which brings the total deaths to 987.

Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County’s public health officer, spoke about the COVID-19 deaths in the county and drew comparisons to the flu virus.

“What does 987 mean? Let’s look at it from another perspective. That is 50 times more deadly, this virus, than the flu virus is from the average flu season,” said Levin. “We count the Covid deaths in the same exact way that we count the flu virus deaths.”

Levin also offered insight into the possibility of entering the yellow tier, the least restrictive tier, soon. When Ventura County reaches a less than 2% positivity rate, it will be eligible to enter the yellow tier. Levin added that the county’s positivity rate was 2% over the three days over the weekend, but on April 6, the positivity rate was only 0.5%.

Levin explained that he is thrilled with the returning freedoms authorized by the state’s orange tier, such as larger capacities and more opportunities for family gatherings, and mentioned the more freedoms available in the yellow tier, but also expressed a concern he had with the quick re-openings.

“When we get to the yellow tier this will increase even further. But at the same time, I am fearful that we will mistake liberalization for total return to normal and we are not there yet. If we go beyond the limitations that we still have, we’ll endanger these same businesses and these same freedoms that we’re now able to enjoy.”

For more information on re-openings and COVID-19 updates in Ventura County, visit Ventura County Recovers.