In a press conference Monday, Nov. 16, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said 41 counties, including Orange County, have been moved to the state’s most restrictive Purple Tier for COVID-19 monitoring.

As Orange County continues to see a rise in COVID-19, public health experts are taking every precaution to slow the spread of the virus across the nation.

During the conference, Newsom also explained that the state would be making adjustments to the tiers for COVID-19 monitoring, which are part of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Moving forward, Newsom said counties would need only one week to move between tiers.

“When we announced the Blueprint for a Safe Economy, we talked about the ability to make advances, not only forward, but also move through toggling backward. We also talked about an emergency brake, based upon data, and based on conditions,” Newsom said. “We have counties now that are moving back, based on that emergency brake, based upon the protocols we put into place.”

On Sunday, Nov. 15, Orange County Health Agency reported 639 new COVID-19 cases with two deaths. Of the total new cases 20 were reported in Irvine.

Within the state’s shift back into the Purple Tier for COVID-19 monitoring, businesses like movie theaters and places of worship will need to cease all indoor operations. California has been in the Red Tier since Sept. 8.

The City of Irvine made the announcement about the City’s move back into the state’s most restrictive tier via Instagram. While retail businesses do not have to close, and must reduce capacity to 25 percent, fitness centers, museums, zoos and aquariums must move operations outdoors.

“Retail and shopping centers can remain open indoors, but at a reduced 25 percent capacity. In addition, the following sectors can no longer operate indoors; they can operate outdoors with modifications:
– Museums, Zoos, Aquariums
– Places of Worship
– Movie Theaters
– Gyms and Fitness Centers”

On Sept. 8, California moved into the less restrictive Red Tier, which allowed gyms, movie theaters and churches to resume operations indoors, at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is lower.