PictureLet’s Go Orange!

While every crumb of good news comes with a cascade of caveats during the COVID-19 era, it sure does look like Marin is on the verge of advancing from the red tier 2 to the orange tier 3 within the statewide Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework as soon as Oct. 27. Such a move would allow several business sectors to move from 25% to 50% density indoors.

“We’ve all made sacrifices to reduce COVID-19 transmission in Marin, and it’s encouraging to see progress,” Marin County Department of Health and Human Services Officer Dr. Matt Willis said this week. “At the same time, we’re seeing new surges across the nation. As hard as it is to reduce case rates, it’s just as hard to hang on and not slide backward. It’s not time to let up on those measures that protect ourselves and our community.” 

​Willis said his office was notified Oct. 20 by California Department of Public Health that Marin’s data has improved, qualifying the county to move advance to the less restrictive Tier 3 or “moderate risk” (“orange”) level based on its COVID-19 coronavirus case statistics. To do so, Marin must have been in the current tier for a minimum of three weeks (it’s been in red tier 2 for five weeks), and meet criteria for the next tier for two consecutive weeks. As of Oct. 22, Marin is nine days into that 14-day span.   

If the state approves Marin’s move into the orange tier on October 27, several business sectors would be able to increase their indoor density, particularly retail, restaurants and fitness facilities. Here’s a breakdown of the improved conditions for businesses in the orange tier. The change with perhaps the biggest economic impact might be that offices can now open, with modifications. According to a Marketing Charts report, office workers spend $200/week on local purchases in the office neighborhood.

To advance to tier 3, Marin must have a daily case rate of 3.9 or lower and 4.9% test positivity rate or lower, and achieved an adjusted daily case rate of 3.6 and 1.8% test positivity. A recently added third indicator is the health equity metric, which compares a county’s COVID-19 percent positivity rate across low-income neighborhoods like the Canal and Marin City to more affluent neighborhoods and ensure that Marin’s lowest income, most marginalized communities aren’t left behind as counties move up in the tier system. As of Oct. 20, Marin had to achieve a health equity metric of 5.2% or lower and achieved  a health equity metric of 2.7%. 

Stay tuned for updates about Marin’s continued progress through the statewide Blueprint for a Safer Economy framework.

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