Marin County health officials said Tuesday that Marin is able to move into the less restrictive red Tier 2 within the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, effective Feb. 24, due to the continued positive progression of Marin’s metrics around new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percentage of positive tests continue to improve.
The red tier allows a broader reopening that includes indoor dining at 25% percent capacity, an expansion for retail shops to 50% capacity and 10% indoor density for gyms and fitness families, among others. Mill Valley restaurants have specifically planned for a small amount of indoor dining by redesigning their indoor spaces to allow for safer distances between employees, and they’ve deployed commercial air filters to manipulate air flow to avoid aerosol-based disease transmission.
“We’ve focused on our hardest-hit communities, and it seems to be paying off,” said Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said. “It’s especially encouraging to see this progress as we move toward vaccinating essential workers. Adding the protection of the vaccine will help seal this progress for the whole community.”
The improvement is bolstered by the county’s continued progress, despite recent weeks of a downturn in vaccine supply, via the federal and state governments, of first dose vaccine distribution to nearly 50,000 Marin residents as of Feb. 22, with more than 22,000 having received both doses of the vaccine, according to county data.
The county recently expanded the pool of people eligible for coronavirus vaccines to Marin’s approximately 33,000 residents 65 and older beginning next week. For the most part, the county has limited vaccine to healthcare workers, and is nearly done vaccinating that group, as well as the roughly 25,000 Marin residents 75 and older, in addition to people living in senior care centers.
In addition to the loosening of restrictions on restaurants, retail shops and gym/fitness facilities, the CineArts Sequoia theater is able to open at 25 percent capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer), and cultural ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, are allowed indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer (churches and houses of worship maintain 25% indoor capacity).
The red tier also delivers some multi-layered benefits to Mill Valley. All Marin schools are eligible to reopen for in-person classes beginning March 1, county officials said, though school officials can decide the scope and pace of reopening campuses individually. For businesses that depend on the foot traffic of students on lunch break, including Juice Girl, Antone’s East Coast Sub Shop, Grilly’s and Safeway, the return to in-person school at Tam High would provide some relief.