[UPDATE: 3.21.21]: Hi all – I posted this in the comments below but also doing so up here to be sure you see it: “I deserve all the arrows on the use of an Orange is the New Black image. Sincere apologies. I screwed up, badly. In putting the blog to bed late Thursday night, I sought an image that conveyed our likely move into the orange tier, and I made a lazy, horrendous choice. I’m a massive fan of the show and its work to give sunlight to the need for criminal justice reform and the treatment of incarcerated women, and I failed to view it through a larger prism than simply artwork that included orange. I’m embarrassed by the stupidity. I am deeply sorry.
I also want to speak directly to the harm that the use of this photo has caused to our BIPOC community members and the community at large: my lack of ill intent with the photo choice does not in any way excuse its horrific impact on my neighbors in southern Marin and beyond who have been dealing with these insensitivities and micro-aggressions for far too long. I am torn to pieces about this, and will continue the Chamber’s commitment to helping to implement the task force recommendations that are specific to our work as a Chamber. Lastly, to be clear, this is on me and me only – not the hundreds of members of the Chamber, not anyone associated with the City. Just me. It’s not representative of who I am, but I own it and will do better. I welcome your comments. –Jim Welte”


All of the requisite caveats notwithstanding – wear a mask, maintain social distance, avoid indoor gatherings and get the vaccine as soon as it’s your turn – we sure could get used to this sustained run of positive news amidst the pandemic. 

Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis told the Board of Supervisors this week that Marin could move into the less restrictive orange tier by March 24. “We are now in our first week of orange tier numbers,” he said during his weekly briefing on the pandemic. “We need two weeks of success in the less restrictive tier before we’re moved into that tier. We anticipate we’ll be moving into the orange tier next week.”

What comes with a move into the orange tier? Increased density allowances for most businesses, including hair salons, retail shops, libraries, personal care services, all at 50% capacity; restaurants, places of worship and movie theaters at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer; hotels and gyms and fitness centers at 25% capacity (up from 10%); bars and breweries are allowed outdoors under the orange tier. Office space associated with non-essential work would be permitted to open, though Willis cautioned that “we still recommend wherever possible for people to work remotely.”

In addition to progress on case rates and percent positivity, the continued expansion of vaccine distribution has accelerated reopening momentum. Willis said people ages 16 to 64 with chronic medical conditions that place them at heightened risk of death should they contract COVID-19 — such as cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coronary heart disease — are now eligible to be vaccinated for the first time, according to the Marin Independent Journal. Nearly 128,000 vaccine doses have been administered to people who live in Marin, according to Marin HHS data.

About 32% of Marin’s 260,000 residents have received at least one vaccine shot and approximately 21% of the United States population has been vaccinated. Only about 3% of the global population has been vaccinated.

As for what’s on deck with continued vigilance and progress, Willis said the earliest date that Marin could move to the yellow tier would be April 14, since counties must remain in a tier at least three weeks before moving into the next less restrictive tier, according to the Marin IJ.

“This pandemic is not going to be over until everyone in the world has had access to the vaccine,” Willis told the board. “If there are pockets where there are very low vaccination rates, the risk for mutations that could cause a resurgence or fourth wave of the pandemic remain high.”


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