Bay Area Counties Move to More Restrictive Reopening Tiers

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Several Bay Area counties moved backwards Monday in terms of reopening their economies, as coronavirus cases continued to spike across the region and the nation.

Five Bay Area counties moved back into the most restrictive purple tier, indicating widespread risk: Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, Santa Clara and Solano. Sonoma County already was in the purple.

Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo counties were back in the red tier as of Monday, indicating substantial spread, according to state guidance.

Several counties outside the Bay Area were also moved back to more restrictive tiers.

"We are sounding the alarm," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement. "California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet — faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer. The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes."

The troubling rise in cases in November has come at a faster pace than a spike in mid-June and could quickly surpass the peak of the hospitalizations at the time, health officials have said. The state became the second in the U.S. last week to surpass 1 million cases of the virus as the U.S. has now recorded more than 11 million cases.

The new restrictions are certain to rankle business owners such as restaurateurs and gym owners who have been struggling to get back on their feet after lengthy shutdowns followed by reopenings that have at times been curtailed as cases have risen.

The state has blamed the spike in cases mainly on people who have grown fatigued coping with the virus and have ignored public health warnings to not socialize with friends and family members. Those warnings have been more forceful in advance of Thanksgiving next week.

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