Record-low COVID-19 cases in SLO and Santa Barbara counties have put both on track to move into the state’s least restrictive yellow tier next week—just before California is scheduled to lift many pandemic-era restrictions.
On June 1, for the first time since the state’s four-tier system was adopted, SLO and Santa Barbara counties posted weekly COVID-19 metrics that met the yellow tier’s criteria.
GRAPH COURTESY OF SLO COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
STOPPING THE SPREAD SLO County recorded a record-low COVID-19 weekly case rate on June 1: 1.5 cases per 100,000 residents.
Both counties reported 0.7 percent positivity rates, while SLO County posted a case rate of 1.5 per 100,000 residents, and Santa Barbara County posted a case rate of 1.3 per 100,000 residents. If those numbers stay below two per 100,000 for another week, the counties will move into the state’s yellow tier on June 8, joining 19 others, including Ventura and Monterey.
Compared to the orange tier—where SLO and Santa Barbara currently are—the yellow tier mostly relaxes capacity restrictions on indoor businesses, like gyms and bars.
On June 15, California will scrap its tier system and lift many of the restrictions it adopted for COVID-19 statewide, including indoor capacity limits and social distancing requirements.
Under the new rules, masks will still be required in indoor public settings, regardless of one’s vaccination status. For vaccinated people, masks will not be required in outdoor settings, unless at a crowded public event. For unvaccinated people, masks will be required in any public setting.
According to the state, the new guidelines will be in effect until Oct. 1, when the state will “assess conditions ... to determine whether updated requirements or recommendations are needed.” ∆