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State Says San Diego County Can Reopen Indoor Dining

Restaurants will be able to operate indoors at reduced capacity starting Monday

Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom just announced a tiered system and revamped website that will be the new blueprint for safely reopening the state’s economy. Now categorized into four color-coded tiers, they range in decreased severity from Widespread (purple) to Substantial (red), Moderate (orange), and Mimimal (yellow); the Widespread level replaces the former California monitoring list.

San Diego County, which came off California’s coronavirus watch list last week, is currently in the Substantial (red) tier, which is defined as four to seven daily new cases (per 100k) and five to eight percent positive tests.

This means that starting this Monday, August 31, restaurants in San Diego County could be allowed to reopen indoor dining with modifications — a max of 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, and still following mask mandates and social distancing guidelines.

Bars, breweries, brewpubs, and distilleries where no food is provided must stay closed.

Newsom stressed that the reopening process will be slow and stringent, and more gradual than May’s reopening rush. Counties will need to remain in the required data threshold for two weeks before advancing to a more favorable level and there will be a mandatory 21-day wait time for counties moving into another tier. The state will asses counties on a weekly basis.

Individual counties can choose to act with more stringency and at Friday’s media briefing, San Diego County’s public health officer Wilma Wooten said the county will be looking into whether they will need to impose additional restrictions. She stressed the need to collectively continue to follow best practices in order to avoid falling back into the Widespread category.