Sutter County was moved into the less restrictive red tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The move, which takes effect today, will allow for legal indoor operations to resume with modifications at restaurants, gyms, fitness studios, faith services and personal care services.

“Capacity continues to be limited to curb the spread of the virus,” said Bi-County Public Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu. “Please be patient with these businesses, who are following the guidance from the state on operating safely.”

Following the state’s latest designation, both Yuba and Sutter counties now find themselves out of the state’s most restrictive (purple) tier.

While some elementary schools have already been given the green light to reopen after submitting applications for waivers for approval from Luu and the California Department of Public Health, all-grade schools will be allowed to reopen after their respective county stays within the red tier for at least two weeks. That means the soonest schools can reopen for in-person classes in Yuba County would be Oct. 21, while Sutter County would have to wait until Oct. 28.

“Please note that it is up to individual school districts to make the decision to reopen for in-person instruction or not, and that what is allowable versus what is prudent may certainly be a factor in school districts’ decision-making process,” Luu said.

Each county must remain in the current tier for at least three weeks before being able to move into the state’s next, less restrictive tier (orange) – the earliest for Yuba County would be Oct. 27, and Nov. 3 in Sutter County. However, Luu said, that heavily depends on whether or not the counties would qualify with the required metrics for case counts and test positivity.

“Let’s keep doing our parts to slow the spread of the virus, especially as we head into cold weather and the holiday season,” Luu said. “Being in close contact with people we don’t live with, indoors, for an extended period of time with no social distancing or facial coverings is extremely risky and certainly would lead to a rise in cases. We want to keep moving forward and not have to take any steps back, as we’ve seen in other counties.”

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increased by seven on Tuesday, bringing the area’s total to 3,024 cases.

Nine people were hospitalized as of Tuesday evening, while 16 residents recovered from the virus. Twenty-two local residents have died due to COVID-19 to date.

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