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Health officials break down the state's tiered reopening plan

Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 01, 2020

New reopening guidelines released by the State of California last week put San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties under the highest level of restrictions, and local health officials say it could be some time before we move to the next level.

Hypothetically speaking, San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said Tuesday that if the county were to move into the red tier tomorrow, the soonest businesses could reopen would be September 22.

In that tier, every sector that's currently open outdoors only could transition to indoors with a limit on capacity.

For San Luis Obispo's Mountainbrook Church, that would mean a maximum of 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer, according to new state guidelines.

"We still have a lot of people that I don't think they're real anxious to just go inside and meet as before," said Rick Olmstead, Mountainbrook Church Co-Lead Pastor.

The church has been holding online services for the past few months but will soon move services outside for a seven-week run.

"I don't know if we will ever go back to what it was," Olmstead explained. "Our online viewers are way beyond anything we knew before and it's still huge."

Gyms and fitness centers like the San Luis Obispo YMCA are looking forward to the potential of lifted restrictions.

"We're very excited," said Keola Taniguchi, San Luis Obispo YMCA Chief Operations Officer.

Dr. Borenstein said the first step to allow indoor fitness operations would be at 10% capacity.

"We've been operating outdoors but it just doesn't replace that indoor feeling," Taniguchi said.

Dr. Borenstein said San Luis Obispo County is currently looking at a trend of more than 30 new cases per day.

In order for the county to move into the next tier, there would need to be fewer than 20 cases per day for three weeks.

But if things in any county worsen for two consecutive weeks, they would be required to go back a tier.

Dr. Borenstein said once we move into the next tier, it would be about a month before schools could reopen.

The tier system will be looked at weekly.

Click here to view the state's "Blueprint for a Safer Economy" and search for restrictions by county.