Newsom Announces 4 Tier Plan to Reopen Economy

AP Photo Rich Pedroncelli Pool

On Friday afternoon Governor Gavin Newsom announced California’s new 4 tier plan to reopen the economy. The process is noticeably slower than what the state tried earlier this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

California’s blueprint for a safer economy is, “statewide, simple, slow and stringent.” The uniform framework provides 4 tiers for all counties; movement is determined by number of cases and percentage of positivity tests. The four tiers for county guidelines are color coded into purple, red, orange and yellow. The governor specifically did not use green, because everyone will need to deal with COVID-19 until there is a vaccine.

Newsom presented a series of slides explaining the new plan because COVID-19 will be present for a long time and as a state, we need to adapt. The slides continued to explain, officials have learned a lot about COVID-19 and how it spreads and adjusting sector framework to keep California healthy and safe.

Purple: 38 counties, 87% of the population
Red: 9 counties, 12% of the population
Orange: 8 counties 1%, of the population
Yellow: 3 counties, 0.1% of the population

The first weekly assessment will start on September 8th and Newsom will provide updates on the tier system every Tuesday. Counties that start in higher tiers have met that tiers criteria for two weeks.

Requirements to Advance Tiers:

  • 21 day mandatory wait time between moves
  • Meet metrics for next tier for 2 straight weeks
  • Counties only move 1 tier at a time
  • Assessed weekly

Requirements to Move Back Tiers:

  • Fail to meet the current tier’s metrics for 2 straight weeks
  • Emergency brake for concerning factors like hospitalizations

The new rules come almost two months after Governor Newsom shut down bars, restaurants for indoor dining and a slew of other businesses following a surge in cases after the state’s first reopening attempt.

Dr. Ghaly explained counties should expect to remain in the tier they are in now for at least three weeks. If you want to check on your specific county, go to and check under “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” to see a zipcode checker and 80 categories of businesses and activities you can check to see if they are open

The state released the four tier guidelines, but if counties would like to make stricter guidelines, they have the right to do so as long as they are not more relaxed than what the state requires.

In addition to the new guidelines, Newsom announced the government has released new bilingual advertisements to highlight the dangers of spreading COVID-19 in social gatherings and is working with businesses to openly provide safety measures. The partnership allows customers to review safety measures and businesses to display protective measures. Yelp, Facebook, Open Table and Google have already began working toward an open communication in regard to coronavirus.

Yelp: Customer-validated healthy and safety measures 
Facebook: Businesses can describe safety precautions and label update posts with “COVID-19 updates”
Open Table: Businesses can now list safety precautions 
Google: Upcoming features in search and maps to communicate safety measures like curbside pickup, delivery, and temperature checks 

Dr. Mark Ghaly explained coronavirus cases are better in California, but they are not as good as officials would prefer.

March 26th: 746 cases
June 4th: 3,142 cases
July 21st: 7,170 cases
August 27th: 4,205 cases

“California has the most confirmed virus cases in the nation, with nearly 700,000, and the third-most deaths — 12,550. But since the closures last month, the average number of daily cases has been falling along with the infection rate and hospitalizations, which peaked at 7,170 on July 21 and since dropped to about 4,300,” reported KTVU.

On a 7 day average, the state conducts 97,324 coronavirus tests daily and reports 5,502 new positive cases. Over 14 days, the positivity rate is 6%, hospitalizations are down 18% and ICU cases are down 19%. Overall, coronavirus cases are using 6% capacity of the hospital system.

Governor Newsom ended his conference by asking for help because, “Your actions matter”. He asked everyone to wear a mask, physically distance, wash your hands and minimize mixing.

Watch Governor Newsom’s full press conference here.

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