SAN LUIS OBISPO — San Luis Obispo County is one good week away from moving out of the most restrictive widespread purple tier 1 into the substantial red tier 2.

A county must meet the state’s COVID-19 criteria in two metrics — cases-per-100,000 rate and positivity rate — for the less stringent tier for two consecutive weeks to move into the less restrictive tier.

SLO County’s positivity rate of 2.9 percent has not been the problem since Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the four tiers in the Blueprint for a Safer Economy two weeks ago.

The County’s cases-per-100,000 has been above 7 and holding it back until this past week when it came in at 6.3.


The state’s metrics are updated each Tuesday. A county must remain in a tier for a minimum of three weeks before advancing to a less restrictive tier. This is SLO County’s third week in tier 1.

Moving into the substantial red tier 2 would allow more businesses to reopen and to move indoors.

After two weeks in tier 2, schools can reopen with some in-person instruction. Schools would have to follow California School Sector Specific Guidelines. If SLO County moves to tier 2 on Sept. 15, the soonest local schools could shift to some in-person instruction would be Oct. 5.

In tier 2, movie theaters, places of worship, gyms and fitness centers can all reopen indoors with limited capacity. Restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that serve food can open indoors with limited capacity.

The capacity of business sectors that were open indoors in tier 1 increases — doubles in some instances — in tier 2.

On Tuesday, SLO County reported 15 new COVID-19 cases bringing the overall total to 3,293 with 3,066 having recovered. There are 199 active cases, the lowest amount since early July.

The number of SLO County residents currently hospitalized with COVID-19 increased to 13 with four in intensive care. Twenty-six people have died from COVID-19 in SLO County.

Seven of the County’s new COVID-19 cases were North County communities — four in Paso Robles (784), two in Shandon (33) and one in Santa Margarita (27).