Ventura County moves to state’s red tier

More businesses now able to re-open

This diagram depicts the different country risk levels. Ventura Country lowered from “Widespread” to “Substantial.”

Ventura County has now moved into California’s red tier after the average case rate dropped below seven cases per 100,000 people and the testing positivity rate went below 8%.

 Ventura County met these markers for the past two weeks, allowing the county to move to the lower tier. As of Tuesday, Oct. 6, the case rate is five and a half cases per 100,000 people and the positivity rate is 3%. 

Located in the red tier, the county’s risk level is now labeled as “substantial.” Ventura County was previously in the purple tier which labels the county risk level as “widespread.” With this shift, more businesses will be allowed to open.

The California Department Health sector has given specific guidance: restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, massage businesses and places of worship are now able to open indoors with modifications. 

Places of worship, restaurants, movie theaters and museums can be operated indoors at 25%

capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. Gyms can reopen indoors with 10% capacity. Personal care services such as massage, tattoos and piercing salons can open indoors. Indoor shopping malls and retail stores can operate at 50% maximum occupancy. Food courts can also open following the state’s guidelines for restaurants.

“This is great news for our county and our business community. We will continue to advocate for our local businesses and appreciate this opportunity to move forward,” County Executive Officer Mike Powers said in a news release.

Elementary schools and secondary schools can reopen for in-person instruction if the county remains in “red” for a solid two weeks or more.

“We are planning to begin opening elementary schools on November 9, as long as we stay in red between now and then. Just for Kindergarten and 1st grade, most likely,” Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight wrote to the Talon. “If things go well, we will bring back other elementary grades.”


Secondary schools will not open for in-person hybrid learning until at least Jan. 5 due to the complications or actually the inability  of keeping secondary students in cohorts according to Knight. 

“Safety of staff and students is always our first priority, which is why we are opening later than other school districts around us,” Knight wrote. 

Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin urged people to continue to take the same precautions: wear masks, social distance, wash hands frequently and stay home if you’re sick. 

“The credit belongs to our residents, who have made lots of sacrifices and worked hard to improve our community transmission metrics,” Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas said in a news release. “That same hard work must continue moving forward so that we don’t revert back to the purple tier and instead continue making progress towards the next tier, orange, so that additional businesses can reopen.”