“The city does feel quite different. It feels like you’re almost there, not quite there, but pretty normal,” Pasadena resident Victor Castro told CBSLA’s Leslie Marin.
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On Tuesday, L.A. County qualified to move into the least-restrictive yellow tier of California’s coronavirus reopening blueprint.
General view of La Condesa Restaurant on April 22, 2021 in Santa Monica, Calif. (Getty Images)
The county’s adjusted average daily coronavirus case rate fell to 1.6 people per 100,000 residents, according to weekly numbers released Tuesday by the state.
The county officially entered the yellow tier on Wednesday, but the relaxed restrictions will not take effect until Thursday, according to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer.
To qualify for the yellow tier, a county must have less than 2.0 cases per 100,000 residents, and it must maintain that for two weeks.
L.A. County also must also maintain an average test positivity rate for the past seven days of under 2.0% to get into the yellow tier. L.A. County’s test positivity rate currently stands at 0.7%.
Long Beach and Pasadena, both of which have their own health departments, quickly revised their local health orders and enacted eased yellow tier restrictions effective 12:01 a.m. Wednesday. Those cities both aligned with state guidelines.
“It’s great,” King’s Row Gastropub bartender Diana Zamora told CBSLA. “We get to have more people inside. We get to use more of our patio and more people get to come hangout.”
In a statement announcing the move, Pasadena officials urged residents to continue exercising caution.
“Residents are reminded to stay diligent about COVID-19 protocols including wearing a mask in public, frequent hand washing, keeping distance from others, and staying home if you feel sick, even if you have been vaccinated,” according to the city. “The public is strongly urged to get vaccinated as soon as possible.”
Entering the yellow tier allows bars to reopen indoors at 25%. The move marks the first time that bars have reopened indoors since early July of 2020.
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Customers at Mijares Mexican Restaurant in Pasadena were excited for the relaxed restrictions that came just in time for Cinco De May.
“It’s good to just be out and about and enjoy life again,” said customer Alden Jenkins.
His friend Debbie Mills said it feels safer to be out as more people are getting vaccinated.
“Even though we’re still spaced out and we’re still wearing masks, it’s just good to see everybody starting to feel better about venturing out,” she said.
Fitness centers, cardrooms, wineries and breweries will be allowed to increase indoor capacity to 50%.
Outdoor sporting venues, such as Dodger Stadium, can increase capacity to 67%. Amusement parks, such as Universal Studios, can increase capacity from 25% to 35%.
Restaurant capacity remains at 50% indoors, but the new restrictions allow restaurants, bars and breweries to turn on their television sets — indoors and outdoors. The new rules will also allow outdoor live entertainment at restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries.
Rules announced by the county restrict capacity at indoor museum, zoo and aquarium spaces to 75%. State guidelines have no capacity restrictions for such facilities in the yellow tier.
The county is also maintaining a 75% capacity cap at grocery and retail stores, a departure from state guidelines that lift all capacity limits in the yellow tier. Hair salons, barbershops and personal care businesses are also limited to 75%, also a departure from the state rules.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the county reported an additional 287 cases and 21 more deaths.
The numbers brought the total caseload to 1,234,372 and the death toll to 23,948.
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