Orange, San Bernardino Counties Move Into Less Restrictive Red Tier Sunday

Hope is on the horizon as the county of Orange and San Bernardino hopefully got the green light to move into the red tier on Sunday. Joy Benedict reports.

Video Transcript

- Hope is on the horizon this morning as Orange and San Bernardino counties officially got the green light to move into the red tier today. KCAL 9's Joy Benedict is live in Orange with what that means for a lot of businesses who are welcoming this news. Joy?

JOY BENEDICT: Absolutely. And their customers too, right? I am so welcoming the idea that I can sip my coffee inside in, like, a real cup and not have to use a to go cup anymore. It has been a year without one and that is something I'm looking forward to do. But of course, this means so much to so many businesses, just simply to be able to serve more people.

And we're live right now in Old Town Orange on Glassell Street. They have this street, like many communities do, blocked off to allow outdoor diners more space to eat safely. And that's what they've been doing for a year now, as we've been seeing this here and elsewhere. But starting today, Orange County can move into the red tier, as can San Bernardino County, allowing these restaurants to move people indoors.

Orange County is going to be making the switch to less restrictive guidelines a few days earlier than expected. This comes on the heels of announcement Friday that California met its goal of two million vaccinations in the state's 400 hardest hit zip codes. The red tier allows for many more businesses and organizations to in fact reopen. Take a look at the list. Retail stores can allow for half capacity at 50% instead of 25%.

Restaurants open for indoor dining at 25%. Museums, zoos, aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25%. Movie theaters-- hey, when's the last time you saw something on the big screen? You can now do that in theaters here in Orange County at 25% capacity. Gyms, yoga studios can have their places open at 10% indoor capacity.

They haven't been able to open all year as well. But just because these businesses are allowed to reopen, don't expect them to do so possibly immediately, even though they're allowed to do that starting today, simply because there's going to be a transitional phase where they have to transition from outdoor activities only to allowing indoors. Many of those places haven't had folks inside for a while.

They've been store in boxes where they used to store tables, moving the tables outside. They also may have to hire more people. So this may not happen instantly, but again, San Bernardino County and Orange County are moving into the red tier today.

The birds are very excited about this, in case you can't hear them. And then you can expect LA County to move into the red tier tomorrow. And of course, most of the counties here in Southern California will follow sometime this week. I'll send it back to you, Serene.

- All right. A lot of businesses breathing a sigh of relief this morning. Joy, thank you for that.