Newsom Announces New State Reopening System

August 28, 2020 by Juliet Bennett Rylah
Image: Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Update: L.A. County will not reopen certain indoor operations at this time, despite statewide approval. See below for more.

Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced new rules for reopening the state’s economy. This time, we’re taking it slow—or as Newsom said, “more stringent, but…more steady.” 

“We’re going to be more stubborn this time and have a mandatory wait time between moves,” Newsom said today. “We didn’t do that last time and that is a significant distinction between what we learned from the past and what we now are advancing in risk.” 


This new plan, the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, replaces the state watch list. Each county will be placed in one of four color-coded risk levels, depending on both the number of new cases and the positivity rate. These tiers will define reopening and restrictions for various businesses and sectors. 

In addition to the new system, there are some statewide modifications to current reopenings. Effective August 31, all retail and shopping centers may open at 25% capacity and all hair salons and barbershops may resume indoor activity. 

However, the L.A. County Department of Public Health later announced that it would not be revising the health order to reopen indoor operations in Los Angeles County just yet.

The four tiers are:

Minimal (yellow): Less than 1 daily new case per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate less than 2%. 

Moderate (orange): 1-3.9 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 2-4.9%. 

Substantial (red): 4-7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate of 5-8%. 

Widespread (purple): More than 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents and a positivity rate over 8%. 

Data is reviewed weekly and tiers are updated each Tuesday. Each county must remain in a tier for three weeks before it can move forward. Then, it must meet the criteria for the next tier for two weeks in a row before advancing. If metrics worsen for two consecutive weeks instead, the county will move back a tier. 

Right now, Los Angeles County is Widespread and so are most counties in Southern California. 

We don’t yet know which businesses belong to which tier. But, you will be able to check which tier your county is in and the restrictions that come with that designation on this website starting on August 31.