The move means more businesses, including movie theaters and gyms, will be allowed to reopen at reduced capacity. Indoor dining will also be allowed to resume.
Orange County was planning to move up to the red tier by Wednesday, but since the state met its goal of inoculating two million Californians in underprivileged communities where coronavirus has spread more widely that meant the county could reopen more business and institutions earlier. The state allowed for higher case rates to move up from the most strict tier of purple to red, and Orange County had more than two weeks of credit for meeting that standard.
Under the previous standards, Orange County would have qualified for the red tier by Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day.
The red tier allows for many more businesses and organizations to reopen. For instance, retail stores could allow for half capacity instead of 25%, and museums, zoos and aquariums could reopen for indoor activities at 25% capacity, as could movie theaters, gyms and restaurants.
Wineries, breweries and distilleries can reopen for outdoor business only.
Moving to the red tier will also allow the reopening of theme parks as early as April 1 -- including Disneyland in Anaheim and Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles County -- at 15% of capacity, with in-state visitors only.
Disneyland earlier this week said it plans to welcome back visitors by the end of April.
City News Service contributed to this report.