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Governor Newsom Unveils Blueprint for a Safer Economy

August 31, 2020

On Friday, August 28, Governor Gavin Newsom unveiled the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, a statewide, stringent and slow plan for living with COVID-19. The plan imposes risk-based criteria on tightening and loosening COVID-19 allowable activities and expands the length of time between changes to assess how any movement affects the trajectory of the disease. The new blueprint is a 4-tier, color-coded classification system that determines which counties can move forward with reopening businesses. The tiers are: yellow (minimal), orange (moderate), red (substantial), and purple (widespread).

Orange County is currently listed in the purple tier:


  • Hair salons: open indoors with modifications
  • Retail: open indoors at 25% capacity
  • Malls: open indoors at 25% capacity and food courts closed
  • Personal care services (nail salons, body waxing, etc.): outdoor only
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums: outdoor only
  • Places of worship: outdoor only
  • Movie theaters: outdoor only
  • Hotels: open with modifications
  • Gyms: outdoor only
  • Restaurants: outdoor only
  • Wineries: outdoor only
  • Bars and breweries: closed
  • Family entertainment centers: outdoor only, like mini golf, batting cages and go-kart racing
  • Cardrooms: outdoor only
  • Non-essential offices: remote work only
  • Professional sports: no live audiences
  • Schools: must stay closed

To find out where other counties fall and allowable activities in each county, visit the California's COVID-19 website. For more information on the four tiers, visit the Blueprint for a Safer Economy webpage.

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:

  • At least 21 days to expand activities beyond the initial tier
  • Mandatory metrics – case rates and test positivity – to measure how widespread COVID-19 is in each county and guide what is allowed
  • A uniform state framework, with four categories instead of 58 different sets of rules
  • A more nuanced way of allowing activity: Instead of open vs. closed, sectors can be partially opened and progressively add to their operations as disease transmission decreases
  • A new process for tightening back up again quickly when conditions worsen

Counties must remain in every tier but purple for a minimum of 21 days before being eligible to move into the next tier. Each Tuesday, California will update each county’s data for the previous week and make corresponding changes to tiers. In order to move into a less restrictive tier, a county must meet that tier’s criteria for two straight weeks.

Counties that fail to meet the metrics for their current tier for two consecutive weeks must move to the next most restrictive tier. The plan also includes an “emergency brake” where the state can intervene more immediately for concerning factors like hospitalizations.

The purple tier is substituted for the previous County Data Monitoring List (which has equivalent criteria). Schools in the purple tier aren’t permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for TK-6 grades. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the red tier for at least two weeks.

Until an effective vaccine is distributed, Californians must wear a mask every time they’re with people outside their household. Residents must take activities outside and maintain distance even with loved ones who do not live with them. Californians must realize that the safest place to be is at home. The elderly and those with medical conditions should stay away from others as much as possible.

To learn more, visit the California's COVID-19 website.