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San Luis Obispo County moves into state's red tier, allowing more indoor business operations
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San Luis Obispo County moves into state's red tier, allowing more indoor business operations

From the What you need to know for Wednesday, September 23 series
  • Updated
Sushi Kokku, Pismo Coast Shopping Center, 031920

Businesses like Sushi Kokku in Pismo Coast Shopping Center, shown closed March 19 after COVID-19 hit but has been serving food outdoors, could reopen indoor dining with limitations after San Luis Obispo County's metrics put it into the state's red tier Tuesday. 

San Luis Obispo County met California’s case rate and positive test results rate for two consecutive weeks Tuesday to qualify for the red tier in the state’s color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which will allow more businesses to reopen indoor operations.

By meeting the state’s two metrics, SLO County’s risk of COVID-19 transmission was downgraded from “widespread” to “substantial,” allowing the county to immediately move from the most-restrictive purple tier to the red tier, County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said.

California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy allows certain business sectors in red-tier counties to reopen indoor operations, with modifications, and for certain activities to resume, Borenstein said.

Businesses and organizations that could resume indoor operations include personal care services with modifications; museums, aquariums, places of worship, restaurants and movie theaters with a limit of 25% capacity; and gyms and fitness centers at 10% capacity.

Schools also will be able to reopen classrooms after the county has been in the red tier for 14 days.

But Borenstein warned the county could backslide into purple if new cases spike this week.

“While we celebrate this small success, we must stay vigilant,” she added. “Our progress depends on each person in SLO County. We need everyone to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

Businesses must follow all state guidelines for their industries and self-certify they are ready to reopen, but Borenstein noted outdoor operations are the safest way to slow the spread of the disease and should be used whenever feasible.

“If we see an increase in the spread of COVID-19 here, we will move back to purple and most indoor operations will close again very soon,” she said.

She advised everyone to wear a face covering in public, stay at least 6 feet from others outside of their household, stay home if sick, wash their hands often and get tested for COVID-19.

For updates on COVID-19 in San Luis Obispo County, visit, call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903 or the staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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