Los Angeles and Ventura counties may move into a less restrictive state-imposed pandemic safety tier as soon as next week, if COVID-19 case rates, positive test results and health-equity metrics continue to be met.


Currently, L.A. is sitting at 3.7 positive cases per 100,000 people, 1.8 percent positivity rate and 2.5 percent in health equity; Ventura’s statistics were reported as 5 positive cases per 100,000 people, 2.2 percent positivity rate and 3.9 percent in health equity.


The state’s orange tier requires 2 to 5.9 daily new cases, 2 to 4.9 percent positivity rate and less than 5.3 percent positive tests for health equity quartile.


Both counties moved from the most restrictive purple tier to the red tier in time for St. Patrick’s Day. Neither county has progressed this far in the state-imposed four-tier, color-coded system since it was introduced in August.


The moderate orange tier allows bars to reopen outdoors without needing to serve food – still with social distancing modifications. Indoor capacity for houses of worship, museums, zoos and aquariums would go from 25 to 50 percent; for restaurants and movie theaters, indoor capacity is raised to 50 percent or 200 people, whichever is fewer, according to the state.


Indoor gyms and yoga studios would up capacity from 10 to 25 percent. Bowling alleys, card rooms and satellite wagering sites could reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity.


Local public health departments can keep stricter rules in place if they feel it’s necessary. L.A. County Public Health Director expressed cautious optimism at a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s certainly good news that we’re making progress, reducing transmission across the county. However, we continue to remain concerned about potential risks that can thwart our progress,” Dr. Barbara Ferrer said.