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Yellow! Alameda and Napa Counties Move Into Less Restrictive Reopening Tier — A Week Before State

Just in the nick of time.

Alameda and Napa counties moved into the yellow tier of the state’s pandemic reopening system Tuesday, just one week before the state lifts the tier system completely.

The two counties will be allowed to expand capacity limits for indoor business, like restaurants and gyms, as well as outdoor ones, like theme parks and large event venues.

The tier change and accompanying guidelines will take effect Wednesday.

“The increasing number of residents who are fully vaccinated is directly reducing case rates and helping Alameda County to move into the yellow tier ahead of the June 15 transition,” Alameda County Health Officer Dr. Nicholas Moss said in a statement.

With this move, eight of the greater Bay Area’s 11 counties are now in the least restrictive tier, with only Solano, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties in the slightly more restrictive orange tier.

California is expected to lift the tier system, officially called the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, on June 15, amid plummeting COVID-19 case rates statewide in recent weeks. Over 55% of state residents have received at least one vaccine dose.

State officials have noted it may be necessary to reimplement some capacity restrictions in the future depending on factors like the proliferation of viral variants or the possibility of another winter surge in cases.

For now, however, the state is on the cusp of moving beyond the tier system for the first time since introducing it last August.

“While we are moving away from the tier system, only 53% of Alameda County residents are fully vaccinated and COVID-19 is still a very real threat to unvaccinated individuals,” Moss said. “We urge all residents to continue using COVID-19 safety precautions to protect vulnerable residents including young children who are not yet eligible for vaccine.”

All California residents age 12 and up are eligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine and are encouraged to contact their local health department or visit for information about local vaccination sites.

Full information on the capacities at which businesses can operate in each tier can be found at

Copyright 2021 KQED