Marin moves to orange tier as Covid case rates fall


Restrictions on reopening were loosened in Marin on Wednesday, and the vaccine rollout is chugging along. 

An average of 3,700 vaccine doses are being administered in the county each day, and nearly half of adult residents have received their first dose. Marin is expected to complete vaccinations of all willing adults in the next eight weeks, outpacing every California county with more than 100,000 residents.  

“It could be that summertime is a lot rosier than we anticipated it to be,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s public health officer.

With an average of 11 new cases a day over the past two weeks, Marin was moved from the state’s red tier to the orange tier, meaning the risk has gone from substantial to moderate. Grocery stores and retail shops can operate with full indoor capacity, and restaurants, movie theaters and churches can expand to half capacity. If case rates decline significantly, Marin could move into the yellow tier by April 14, allowing for even larger indoor gatherings, including at bars.

Dan Thompson, the owner of the Inverness Park Market, said that even though full capacity is allowed, he will continue to hold a line outside the store. Before the pandemic, he would look up and see over 30 people inside, a sight he isn’t comfortable with now. “Everyone still gets served, we’re just doing it a little differently,” he said. 

Public health officials are stressing that regular precautions like mask wearing should still be followed. More infectious variants have caused increased transmission in Europe and other parts of the United States, but so far California has been relatively spared from the more dangerous strains. The vaccine rollout is a race against their spread. And just 3 percent of the global population has been vaccinated. “This is not the time to travel,” Dr. Willis said. 

Schools are now allowed to have students indoors within three feet of each other, eliminating both a recommendation of six feet and a rule of four feet. The change will allow schools to completely fill classrooms, if districts and their unions can agree to do so.