El Centro Opens Limited Business Operations

File photo: Hairstylist Ludi Martinez (right) and colleague hairstylist Patty Hernandez with customer Antonia Herrera at 550 Hair Beauty salon on Main Street in El Centro.

IMPERIAL COUNTY – State of California Health Officials announced Imperial County has successfully met metrics to progress to the Red Tier of the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy as of Tuesday, March 9, and went into effect Wednesday, March 10.

Imperial County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday and Imperial County Public Health Director Janette Angulo addressed the Imperial County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, March 9, for their weekly COVID-19 update, informing the County and partner agencies of continued progress; and provided a peak into the future of moving into the Red Tier. At the time of the meeting, the State had not yet announced the County’s eligibility to move to the less restrictive Red Tier.

Imperial County has never progressed out of the Purple Tier, which is the most restrictive.

The move indicates the risk of COVID-19 transmission in Imperial County has shifted from widespread to substantial based on local case and testing positivity rates, according to a press release from the Imperial County Public Health Department.  

The Imperial County Health Officer order has been updated to reflect expanded activities and services permitted under the Red Tier. The updated order is available on the Imperial County Public Health Department website.   

Moving into the Red Tier means Imperial County may begin reopening certain facilities and continuing certain activities with modifications. Dr. Munday said it is still important to follow that State’s recommendations regarding masking, handwashing, social distancing, and low contact with those outside of a direct household.

The following is an abbreviated list of services and activities allowed under the Red Tier.  For a full list, visit the State of California COVID-19  Blueprint for a Safer Economy page.

  • Restaurants indoors (max 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less)
  • All retail indoors (max 50 percent capacity)
  • Shopping centers, swap meets indoors (max 50 percent capacity, closed common areas, reduced capacity food courts)
  • Schools K-12
  • Youth and adult outdoor low- and moderate-contact sports. Examples of low-contact sports include biking, cross-country, golf, swimming, tennis, while moderate-contact sports include baseball, softball, volleyball, cheerleading, and gymnastics.
  • Higher education institutions (capacity for indoor lectures and student gatherings must be limited to 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is less)
  • Movie theaters indoors (max 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is less)
  • Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10 percent capacity)
  • Family entertainment centers (kart racing, mini-golf, batting cages) outdoors only with modifications
  • Small private gatherings are allowed outdoors and indoors with modifications

Bars without meal service, bowling alleys, indoor playgrounds, live theater, saunas, steam rooms, nightclubs, and festivals are not yet allowed.

Angulo stressed the importance of remaining vigilant in protecting against the virus by following safety recommendations and receiving the COVID-19 vaccine as it becomes available.

Throughout the last several months, the County has been working to roll out the State’s MyTurn system for a more organized and user-friendly way to schedule appointments to receive the COVID vaccine.

There are several methods to see where vaccines are available in the County and to schedule appointments to receive vaccine, including the Public Health Department’s website. Local providers are listed on the website, along with the tier schedule for receiving vaccine, and continued efforts and information regarding COVID-19 testing.

To check eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine and to be notified of upcoming Public Health COVID-19 vaccine clinics, residents are highly encouraged to enroll in the State’s MyTurn system at https://myturn.ca.gov.

“We’re seeing at the National, the State, and the local level, changes that are taking place because of the fact that we’re now on the back side of the surge that we had,” said Dr. Munday, “and interestingly, moving out of the surge created a lot of work that’s similar to the fact that a lot of work is created when you move into the surge. The difference, of course, is the work that we’re doing (now) is making everyone happy and is good news and it is work that means we’re moving back toward what we’ll call ‘normal.’”


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