California’s Colored COVID Tier System, Explained

Nov 17, 2020

In an attempt to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the state of California has adopted a tiered system for loosening and tightening restrictions on counties. 

Different colored tiers represent different levels of risk — from “minimal” (yellow) to “widespread” (purple). Each county is assigned to a tier based on its test positivity and adjusted case rate. Under each tier, different businesses and activities are restricted.

On Nov. 17, as cases surged throughout the state, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced several changes to the tier system, including changes to how and when tier adjustments will be made, and how quickly counties must implement restrictions. The governor said the state will reassess tiers for counties multiple times during a week.

You can look up your county’s tier and risk level for various activities on the state’s website

See what businesses and activities are restricted under each tier in this PDF from the state, pictured below.

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