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Contra Costa County to return to red tier on Sunday for COVID-19

Move will allow some Rossmoor activities, gatherings to resume

By Craig Lazzeretti

Assistant managing editor

Friday, March 12 (1:30 p.m.): Contra Costa County will return to the red tier under California’s reopening plan for COVID-19 on Sunday, March 14, allowing some business activities and gatherings to resume.

On Friday, the county’s adjusted per-capita new case rate the coronavirus was 6.7 per 100,000 residents, low enough to move out of the more restrictive purple tier.

Tice Creek Fitness Center will reopen Thursday, March 18, at 5 a.m. at 10% capacity, based on a reservation system. Reservations will be accepted starting at 7 a.m. Wednesday via app, phone or at There will be a maximum of 10 general use reservation slots during each open time block.

Director of Resident Services Jeff Matheson said plans are also in the works to reopen Peacock Hall for movies with “very limited capacity.”

In addition, indoor religious services can begin with limited capacity, he said.

“In April, some outdoor concerts may be able to begin with reserved seating and limited capacity. We are evaluating all options and permitted activities.”

Stan Gedeon, owner of the Creekside Grill and Bar, said earlier this week that he was planning for a return to the red tier. For him, that means reopening Creekside’s main dining room to 25 percent capacity (about 30 people maximum), adding tables to the building’s foyer to accommodate another dozen or so diners indoors, and reopening the bar – without stools.

In a news release Friday, Contra Costa Health Services said that the county was poised to enter the red tier Wednesday but was given permission to transition a few day earlier after the state met a goal of administering 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in high-risk, economically disadvantaged communities. Several other Bay Area counties had moved into the red tier in recent weeks as COVID-19 cases continue to decline throughout the region.

“It is encouraging to see our data moving in the right direction, and it’s a testament to the hard work Contra Costa residents have put in to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, Contra Costa County’s health officer. “But it is important that we make healthy choices to keep up our momentum. This pandemic is not over yet.”

The move to the red tier allows for the following activities:

  • Restaurants, gyms, dance studios and museums may resume indoor operation, following state health guidelines.
  • Indoor retail stores and shopping malls may increase their maximum occupancy and grocery stores may operate at full capacity.
  • Small private gatherings may be held indoors, following state health guidance.
  • Colleges and other higher education institutions may reopen indoor lectures, following state health guidance.
  • Elementary and secondary schools can reopen for in-person learning without submitting a safety plan to Contra Costa Health Services.

More information on sector-specific health regulations can be found at visit For Contra Costa data and COVID-19 health information, visit