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Contra Costa moved back to restrictive purple tier

By Ann Peterson

Managing editor


(Updated Tuesday, Nov. 17) Tice pools were forced to close last Friday; indoor service at the Fitness Center and Creekside Grill stops today and Gov. Gavin Newsom moved most counties in California back to the most restrictive purple category on Monday as the state tries to halt rising COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Indoor pools have shuttered after the California Department of Public Health moved the county back to the restrictive red tier on Tuesday, Nov. 10, because the 7-day average new cases per 100,000 residents jumped to 5.3 – the second consecutive week with numbers higher than permitted for counties in the orange tier.

Then Contra Costa Health Services decided last week to also indefinitely close indoor dining, indoor fitness centers and concession stands at movie theaters, starting Nov. 17.

The state then made those restrictions a requirement for much of the Bay Area, and added closures for movie theaters and indoor worship services as well.

Under the state’s reopening plan, indoor pools cannot accept reservations again until the county returns to the orange tier.

“Indoor interactions at restaurants, movie theaters, and indoor gyms and fitness centers are high-risk activities,” said Dr. Chris Farnitano, health officer for Contra Costa County. “And given what we’re seeing happen across the country and the region, we must act now.”

With Tice pools closing, Hillside and Dollar Pools will expand their hours starting next week from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m., with the last reservation starting at 4 p.m. The pools will close for cleaning from 6 to 9 a.m. on Tuesday at Hillside and Wednesday at Dollar.

Tice Creek Fitness Center has to cancel all reservations starting Nov. 17. It will continue offering livestream classes and virtual training appointments, and Director of Resident Services Jeff Matheson said he and Fitness Center Manager Mark Metcalf were looking at “creative ways” to try to deal with the unexpected closure.

The Creekside Grill will continue to offer outdoor dining with heater lamps and coverings, and pickup and delivery service are available. Check out their website or call 925-949-8658 or 925-954-1063 to make a reservation or place an order.

With Contra Costa back in the purple tier, capacity has scaled back for retail stores and indoor shopping malls to 25%. Indoor family entertainment centers, such as bowling alleys, also have closed. Outdoor performances are prohibited.

Contra Costa Health Services officials noted that most new COVID-19 cases in Contra Costa are spread within the home, usually with an infected person passing it to people in their household. Health officials are asking county residents to step up protection measures, especially with the holiday season approaching.

“I’ve said this many times before,” Farnitano said, “but it’s so important I can’t repeat it enough: The best way to protect against COVID-19 is to wear a face covering whenever you are near people who do not live with you, and whenever you go in a building that is not your home.”