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San Joaquin Moves Back Into Purple Tier

Effective Tuesday, Nov. 17, San Joaquin County was officially moved back to the more restrictive Purple, or Widespread, Tier after the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced changes to its Blueprint framework on Monday.

Neighboring Stanislaus County also dropped back, as did multiple counties around the state.

California Health and Human Services Agency Director Mark Ghaly announced at a Monday news conference that 41 counties in California, including San Joaquin County have reached the Purple Tier meaning businesses and organizations must be more restrictive.

This move by CDPH is one of many they are implementing to help slow the recent rise in cases statewide. In addition, CDPH is moving some counties back more than one tier at a time, giving counties less time to implement their new tier restrictions (24 hours versus the previous 72 hours), and will be less likely to approve adjudications.

San Joaquin County’s adjusted case rate is now 16.4 cases per day per 100,000 people, well above the requirements to remain in the Red Tier, and positivity rate is 6.5 percent.

“The swift rise in cases is concerning. Our community has heard the message for several months now to wash hands, practice physical distancing, and wear a mask properly,” said Dr. Maggie Park, San Joaquin County Public Health Officer. “Nobody wants to see business rollback or close, but now, more than ever, we need San Joaquin County residents to step up and take these actions seriously.”

A return to the Purple Tier drastically impacts many local businesses that will now have to close indoor business operations or reduce capacity.

As of now, these businesses can operate ‘Outdoors only with modifications’ – Family entertainment centers; gyms and fitness centers; movie theaters; museums, zoos and aquariums; places of worship; and restaurants.

For other businesses, the restrictions are as follows: Retail, open indoors with a maximum of 25 percent occupancy; shopping centers, open indoors with a maximum of 25 percent occupancy. Schools that were open for in-person learning prior to the move to the more restrictive tier – including all schools in the Escalon Unified School District – will remain open following State guidance.

Personal care services, nail salons, hair salons and barber shops can still remain open indoors with modifications in the Purple Tier and must follow the State’s industry guidance. Any schools that have reopened for in-person learning while San Joaquin County was in the Red Tier, or with an approved waiver, are not required to close and can remain open. Schools that have not yet opened will need to receive a waiver to reopen under the Purple Tier or wait until San Joaquin County has moved back into the Red Tier. Due to the current case rate, San Joaquin County does not meet the stipulations to accept school waiver applications at this time.

Additionally, to slow the spread of COVID-19, State officials announced a revised Gathering Guidance, Face Covering Guidelines and a Travel Advisory. The Gathering Guidance replaces the Oct. 9, 2020 guidance to mandate gatherings that occur outdoors and are limited to three households or less. The Face Covering Guidance mandates that a face covering is required at all times when outside of the home, with some exceptions. The Travel Advisory recommends that those traveling into California from other states and countries self-quarantine for 14 days and Californians to remain at home or in their region and avoid non-essential travel to other states or countries.

Residents are asked to help slow the spread by following the Health Orders and guidelines, wearing a mask, washing hands regularly, practicing physical distancing, being tested, and limiting mixing with people outside your household. Free testing is available at many locations in San Joaquin County. To find testing locations, more information, or report violations, visit For additional information about the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Industry Guidance, or to find out what is open, visit