What Humboldt County’s move to the red tier means for local businesses

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HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. (KIEM) — After being in the yellow tier of the state’s blueprint for a safer economy since early October, Humboldt County’s case rate has climbed to 4.8 pushing the county over the edge and into the red, or substantial, tier.

“It’s a leap of 2 tiers for us, but our data certainly warrants it at this time. In fact, we were certainly seeing that internally before the state released that data,” according to County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich.

With the tier reassignment comes new requirements when it comes to how businesses can operate. Those modifications already being implemented. The only full closure taking effect, bars and breweries have to shut their doors.

“Most of the other tiers are adjustments in capacity, rather than complete closures,” Frankovich says.

Restaurants can still do indoor dining, but must reduce capacity to 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Same goes for places of worship. Retail establishments can continue indoor shopping, but with 50% capacity. Gyms can only operate indoors at 10% capacity. Hair salons and barbers remain open with modifications. It’s all about reducing the number of people indoors.

“Indoor settings where you aren’t able to mask throughout and distance throughout are high risk,” Frankovich adds.

Travel and gatherings remain the biggest drivers of cases locally, according to Dr. Frankovich.

“If we want to be able to keep our schools operational, keep our business community operational, we have to stop the gathering. That’s a particularly difficult challenge at the holiday season, but it is essential to protect our families and our community,” Frankovich warns.