Alameda County is expected to move from purple to the less restrictive red level or level 2 as early as Tuesday next week if COVID-19 cases and positivity remain low. As a result, Berkeley will be able to remove some government restrictions on indoor business.
The last time Berkeley moved to the red level with Alameda County was in September 2020, three months before the intensive care unit’s capacity dropped across the country and the city was subjected to a strict regional shelter.
The level of positivity in the city is lower than in September 2020 and a vaccination campaign is being conducted with thousands of key workers, senior citizens, food workers and teachers who have been inoculated against the virus. As of last week, more than 1
The red layer, or level 2, means that there is a “significant” risk of COVID-19 in a county, with four to seven new cases per 100,000 population per day, and between 5-8% of tests return positive. Berkeley can only go red when Alameda County generally meets these requirements, but the Berkeley Department of Public Health decides for itself whether to impose additional restrictions on state rules.
Matthew Chacco, a spokesman for the city, said on Wednesday that the city would agree with the state on opening a business when Alameda County turns red. Berkeley currently has a 0.47% positive sample rate compared to the 2.40% positive rate in Alameda County, and the seven-day adjusted percentage of cases per county of 100,000 residents is currently 6.30 cases. These figures allow the county to go to the red level if it can be maintained for another week.
The following indoor activities with a capacity of 25% or 100 people will then be allowed (whichever is less):
- Museums and aquariums
- Movie theaters
- Cultural ceremonies
- Gyms and dance studios (with 10% capacity)
- Retail (at 50% capacity)
Businesses without a mandatory capacity limit at the red level, such as grocery stores (which currently operate at 50% capacity at the purple level), still need to follow the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enable social distancing between customers.
Schools will be open to all classes, but are still subject to health and safety guidelines from Alameda County Education Office, limiting university capacity and negotiations between the University of Berkeley and the Berkeley Teachers’ Federation.
Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco, Marin and Napa counties are currently in the red and have opened additional indoor activities in accordance with state rules. The level distributions for each state district are available on the state website in an interactive map.