Contra Costa County health officials have tightened restrictions on business openings and public gatherings due to a marked increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Contra Costa had entered the orange tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Oct. 27, triggering an expansion of community reopening activities in the county. But since that date, the average daily number of new cases in the county has grown substantially higher.
If the trend continues, the county is at risk of moving backward into the more-restrictive red tier. To prevent that from happening, Contra Costa has amended its health orders to rein in some of the riskier indoor activities.
The health order on sporting events limits the number of spectators at pro or college games to 25 people from no more than three different households, consistent with the County’s guidance on private social gatherings.
On Friday, November 6, County health officer Dr. Chris Farnitano ordered restoring stricter limitations on high-risk activities as follows:

  • Outdoor bars prohibited (except where allowed under restaurant guidance with drinks as part of a meal)
    – Indoor dining allowed at a maximum of 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy and 200 people)
    – Indoor movie theaters can operate at a maximum 25% of occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy or 200 people)
    – Religious services indoors allowed at a maximum 25% occupancy or 100 people, whichever is fewer (down from 50% occupancy or 200 people)
    -Cardrooms and satellite wagering sites can’t operate indoors (they previously could operate indoors at 25% capacity)

The state allows counties to impose stricter standards so local health departments can respond to circumstances in their communities.
Over the past months, the Bay Area counties have made the decisions they’ve felt best around opening or not opening businesses and activities.
As of this writing, Contra Costa County is still in the orange tier, but case rates are increasing again into the more restrictive red-tier level. The most recent data show an adjusted rate of 4.9 daily cases per 100,000 people in Contra Costa. The orange tier benchmark is to have fewer than 4 per 100,000 people.
In addition, there were 40 people hospitalized on Nov. 2 due to COVID in local hospitals, compared to a low point of 17 in mid-October. If these numbers continue to increase, Contra Costa will move back into the more restrictive red tier.
For now, other activities not cited in the new order will still be allowed under orange-tier criteria, including indoor swimming pools and indoor family entertainment centers can continue “naturally distanced” activities, such as bowling alleys, escape rooms and climbing-wall gyms, at 25% occupancy.
Contra Costa County’s Covid-19 status and subsequent health orders are ever-changing. For up to date information, visit