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With more choices of activities, manage your risk and take steps to limit spread

Berkeley, California (Tuesday, March 30, 2021) - As case rates and the percentage of positive tests continue to decline countywide, state rules allow more activities to open in the City of Berkeley as well throughout Alameda County as long as COVID-19 precautions are used.

As rules relax, everyone should act to avoid and limit spread. Maintain daily habits like keeping distance, wearing a face covering and avoiding crowds. Choose activities based on lower-risk. Limit your overall risk on a daily and weekly basis.

The rules under the state's "orange tier" go into effect on Mar. 31 in Berkeley and the rest of the county:  

  • Restaurants can have indoor dining of up to 50 percent of capacity or 200 people total, whichever is less
  • Retailers can open at full capacity
  • Offices can open indoors, though telework is encouraged whenever possible
  • Houses of worship, museums, and movie theaters can open at 50 percent capacity
  • Gyms, fitness centers and pools can open indoors at 25 percent capacity
  • Wineries, breweries and distilleries can open indoors at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Bars can open outdoors
  • Outdoor live events can have audiences up to 33 percent of capacity, or 25 percent of a suite starting April 1. See details.

For more information on these COVID-19 restrictions, which are set by the California Department of Public Health across the entire county, see the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy , or our COVID-19 restrictions in Berkeley webpage. You can also look up the status of activities by sector on the state's COVID-19 website.

When the cases rise, people's actions have led to the increase. The same holds true when there's a decrease: diligence by thousands has a collective impact. Wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings, and keeping physical distance from other households lessens spread -- and opens up more possibilities.

Each person that gets vaccinated also increases our overall protection. Among all Berkeleyans over the age of 16, City of Berkeley data shows that roughly 27 percent are fully vaccinated - an increase from 12 percent three weeks ago.

Starting April 1, vaccinations are open to everyone who is at least 50 years old, as well as people who are at least 16 years old who have certain underlying health conditions or work in certain workplace sectors. See state vaccine guidelines for details.

"Even as more activities open up, we must not forget that the virus is still circulating in our community, new variants are emerging and cases are rising in other parts of the country," said Dr. Lisa B. Hernandez, the City of Berkeley Health Officer. "To navigate our way through the pandemic, we need to use all the tools available - from face coverings to physical distance and hand hygiene.  And when it's your turn, get vaccinated as soon as possible."

Budget risk, choose safer activities and maintain daily habits

As more activities open up, people should manage their risk. For each activity you choose, consider postponing another.

If this is the week you choose to go to the movies, you might postpone plans to go wine tasting.  You might choose to alternate working out at a gym with at-home and outdoor fitness activities.

When leaving the safety of home, use three questions to help assess the risk of a particular activity: Where will you go? Who will attend? What will happen?

Those questions should guide you mostly to activities that are outside, shorter in duration and where people can safely stay six feet apart.

These questions should also help you avoid confined spaces, crowds and close contact with those outside your household.

Everyone should always do the essentials:  stay home when sick, wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, and keep physical distance with those not in your household.

"We are in a safer place thanks to the actions of so many, but the pandemic is not over," said Dr. Hernandez. "Everyone doing their part will help continue to keep us all safe."



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