By CBSLA Staff

SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — Orange and Ventura County are moving back to the most restrictive purple tier, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday afternoon.

During his news conference, Newsom said the state is hitting an “emergency brake” on economic activity in light of what he calls an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases statewide.

As of Monday, 28 counties — including Orange and Ventura County — are being moved back to the most restrictive tier of California’s matrix governing business operations.

Out of the state’s 58 counties, 41 are now in the restrictive purple tier, which restricts capacity at retail establishments, closes fitness centers and limits restaurants to limited outdoor-only service.

Orange County had been in the slightly less-restrictive “red” tier of the four-level matrix but was anticipated to fall back to “purple” due to the rising daily case numbers.

On Monday, county officials reported 380 new cases of COVID-19 and no additional deaths, bringing the county’s totals to 65,605 cases with 1,526 fatalities.

Other Southern California counties of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego remained in the “purple” tier.

Newsom also announced changes in the way counties will be classified in the matrix. Counties that have spiking virus metrics can now move backward in the state’s four-tier reopening matrix after one week, not the previous two-week requirement.

Counties can also now move back multiple tiers if needed, and counties that move backward must require industry restrictions immediately, not three days.

Newsom said the move comes as daily COVID-19 case rates have doubled over the past 10 days, the highest increase state has seen since June.

The governor said the state has 11 “surge facilities” that can be activated to prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed in particularly hard-hit areas. He said the first such facility will be activated in Imperial County.

Following Newsom’s announcements,  business owners around the county prepared to readjust to the restrictions.

“It breaks my heart,” said La Chiquita Restaurant owner Sammy Montoya. “It breaks my heart because it’s been eight months that we’ve been in trouble trying to make a living, not even being able to make a living.”

Since September, customers have had a choice to eat inside or outside at the restaurant.

Now, Montoya is having an awning installed on Tuesday morning to seat more people outside.

“I’m going to get some plants to put on the street just to make it inviting,” Montoya said. “We’ve got to keep it up. I can’t send my employees home again. It’s not going to happen.”

Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, county officials said the hospital system is not overwhelmed.

“I talked to some of the hospital people just this morning, we are in no danger of running out of ICU capacity or bed capacity in the general admittance floors,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors member Don Wagner. “So, we’re in good shape in Orange County.”

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)

Comments (11)
  1. So I’m looking at the official COVID dashboard for OC, and for the three metrics one is in orange and two are in red. I’m confused as to why this states that OC is back in purple when the numbers say that’s not even close to being true. Am I missing something?

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