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By Collin Breaux

Restaurants will be allowed to increase indoor capacity, bowling centers and other indoor entertainment can open back up at limited capacity, and other restrictions will ease when Orange County moves to the orange tier on Wednesday, March 31.

The county will move down to the less restrictive orange “moderate” tier on the state’s four-tier COVID-19 metric monitoring system tomorrow, according to Orange County Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.

The move down to orange has been expected for some time as cases continue decreasing, in contrast to rising cases in other parts of the country. Orange County entered the red “substantial” tier on March 14 after previously being in the purple “widespread” tier—the most restrictive of the tiers.

Among the orange tier’s guidelines are museums, zoos, and aquariums being able to open indoors at 50% capacity, indoor pools being able to open at fitness centers and hotels, and bars opening outdoors only with modifications. The full list of what’s allowed can be viewed by going to covid19.ca.gov/safer-economy/ and typing “Orange” into the county bar.

People are still encouraged to wear masks, avoid large crowds, and practice social distancing.

Under the red tier, some limited capacity indoor operations were permitted for restaurants, gyms, and movie theaters. The move to orange from red essentially allows the return of more indoor activities and business operations.

Orange County reported 7,248 tests on March 30, and has over 3.3 million cumulative tests so far. There have been 242,669 recoveries to date.

Fourteen deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Orange County on March 30. There have been 4,740 cumulative deaths in Orange County to date.

A majority of counties in California are in the red tier, though the number in the orange tier has grown. There are now three counties in the widespread tier, 36 in the substantial tier, 17 counties in the moderate tier, and two in the minimal tier.

On the vaccine front, the state reported it had administered over 17 million vaccine doses, with 1,426,042 in Orange County as of Tuesday–an increase by 203,463 from a week ago.

Nationally, the United States has 30.4 million cases and approximately 550,000 deaths in total. California has approximately 3.66 million cases and 59,011 deaths. There are approximately 128 million cases worldwide in total.

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