Alameda County Moves to Orange Tier Allowing Cardrooms, Outdoor Bars to Reopen

Published On March 31, 2021 | By Bay City News Service | Coronavirus, News & Commentary

Alameda and Santa Cruz counties joined San Mateo, Santa Clara and Marin by moving into the “orange” COVID-19 pandemic reopening tier on Tuesday. This allows cities in these counties to increase indoor capacities for already opened businesses and reopen bars outdoors.

The tier change from red to orange increases indoor capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent for sectors like movie theaters and restaurants while gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to raise capacity from 10 percent to 25 percent.


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In addition, business sectors like family entertainment centers, cardrooms, offices and breweries will be allowed to resume indoor operations after being limited to opening outdoors or being closed altogether in the red and purple tiers.

Oaks Card Club, which represents a significant chunk of The City of Emeryville’s revenues, has been closed since the original shelter order and has not yet announced a reopening date through its social media channels.

Orange is the most restrictive tier in which bars can operate under any circumstance. Bars will be allowed to reopen outdoors with modifications like distancing between patrons and required masking when not eating or drinking. Local bars have yet to announce their intent to reopen via their social channels although Berkeleyside Nosh announced that Hometown Heroes will reopen in April.

A move to the yellow tier would allow the counties to resume indoor operations at bars at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss advised residents to continue following the public health guidance of keeping distance from others and wearing a face covering in public to help the county continue making progress in tamping down the virus.

Emeryville and the 94608 zip code have seen steady declines in positive cases reported for the past several weeks.

“Our metrics have improved, but this pandemic is not yet in our rear-view mirror,” Moss said. “Variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 are circulating in our county, case rates are rising in other parts of the country and, while nearly a quarter of Alameda County residents aged 16 and older have been fully vaccinated, we aren’t at the levels required for broad community protection or immunity.”

“Moss also advised residents to get vaccinated against the virus when they become eligible. Roughly 31% of Emeryville residents have been vaccinated as of last Saturday according to a recent SF Chronicle report.

The city announced today the availability of a mobile vaccine clinic in West Oakland this weekend. Eligible Emeryville residents include those over 50 and other essential workers and at-risk groups.

The tier change will also allow outdoor sports stadiums like the Oakland Coliseum to increase their capacities as of Thursday. Outdoor arenas can allow 33 percent capacity in the orange tier while amusement parks will be allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity.

Contra Costa County are expected to fall out of the more restrictive red tier as soon as next week. None of the 11 counties in the greater Bay Area remain in the most restrictive purple tier and only three of the state’s 58 counties remain in purple.

Read the full press release on acgov.org for a complete list of reopening and restrictions.

Feature Image: Oaks Card Club Facebook page

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