Newsom says state about to hit vaccination target, letting most SoCal counties shift to red tier

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles and other Southern California counties could move into the state's less restrictive red tier as soon as this weekend, allowing more businesses to reopen.

Gov. Gavin Newsom, at an event in South Gate, said the state is about to hit a key target that allows counties to accelerate their shifts to less-restrictive tiers.

The state has been working to improve vaccine distribution to the hardest-hit communities and set a goal of 2 million doses distributed to those communities as a metric for allowing more tier shifts. The state is expected to hit that 2 million mark by Friday.

Southern California counties remain under the purple tier, but four counties could be ready for a shift to the red tier after the state hits that mark.

"We're at 1.9 million today," Newsom said Wednesday. "On Friday we will pass that goal. Once we reach that threshold, we'll be able to move more quickly through these tiers. It will allow us to update our tier strategy and allow us to start reopening more strategically and more safely."

Exactly when that can happen is still unclear, especially in Los Angeles County where officials say it could take 48 hours to make that move.

Other counties could possibly lessen restrictions by Saturday.

Los Angeles County Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said her department is already working on guidelines for the shift to the red tier. She expects to release those guidelines Thursday. She said it is still not determined if the county would allow indoor dining under the new tier.

Ferrer added that if businesses and the public follow the guidance and safety protocols, it could generate enough progress for a shift to the even-less-restrictive orange tier within a few weeks.

With L.A. County just days away from admission into the red tier, fitness centers will be able to open indoors. Sandy Duvall, the owner of Sierra Health and Fitness, has heard gyms will open at 10% capacity. Her gym has survived because of a 2,000 square-foot outdoor gym constructed in their parking lot.

The red tier also allows counties to reopen movie theaters and expand capacity for retail stores and shopping malls.

L.A. County also announced custodians, janitors, public transit workers, airport ground crew workers, foster parents and some social workers are now eligible for the vaccine.
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