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Aug 31

New “Blueprint for a Safer Economy,” including four-tier color-coded system

Posted on August 31, 2020 at 9:08 pm by Clay Curtin

On Friday, Governor Newsom announced the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Effective August 31, this four-tiered, color-coded system replaces the former county monitoring list and is described as a “slow plan for living with COVID-19.”

“This Blueprint is statewide, stringent and slow,” said Governor Newsom. “We have made notable progress over recent weeks, but the disease is still too widespread across the state. COVID-19 will be with us for a long time and we all need to adapt. We need to live differently. And we need to minimize exposure for our health, for our families and for our communities.”

The Blueprint builds on lessons learned from the first six months of the disease – and the new scientific understanding that has been collected – to create a new system for regulating movement and COVID-19 transmissions. It includes:
  1. At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier to ensure California better limits the spread of the virus
  2. Mandatory metrics – case rates and test positivity – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and guide what is allowed
  3. A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules;
  4. A more nuanced way of allowing activity: Instead of open versus closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases
  5. A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen
Under the Blueprint, every county in California will now be assigned to one of four risk levels based upon the number of new daily cases of COVID-19 reported and the percentage of positive tests. The four color-coded risk levels include
  • Purple (Widespread) – most nonessential indoor businesses remain closed
  • Red (Substantial) – some nonessential indoor businesses operations are closed
  • Orange (Moderate) – some business operations are open with modifications
  • Yellow (Minimal) – most business operations are open with modifications
At a minimum, counties must remain in a tier for at least three weeks before moving to a less restrictive level. 

You can visit the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy website to check San Mateo County’s status and allowed activities every Tuesday, since officials review data weekly and update county tier status on Tuesdays. Each listing, by county and type of activity, includes industry-specific guidance.

San Mateo County’s status is currently Purple (Widespread), with 8.6 daily new positive cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people and a 4.8 percent positivity rate. If a county's case rate and the positivity rate fall into different tiers, the county remains in the stricter tier.