As TNT goes to press, Los Angeles County is poised to enter the least restrictive yellow tier of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan. Just a month and a half ago, Los Angeles County was in the most restrictive purple tier, grappling with high transmission and hospitalization rates. The news that the county had met the requirements for the yellow tier and was on the brink of implementing the next round of reopening came at the same time that the Topanga area reached a somber milestone: the tenth COVID-19 fatality for the unincorporated Santa Monica Mountains. While most businesses will be able to once again operate indoors with some modifications and safety measures under the yellow tier, that tenth death is a local reminder that the crisis isn’t over yet. 

The final phase of reopening depends on several elements, including maintaining an infection rate of 2 per 100,000 or less, meeting masking and social distancing requirements and vaccination targets. The CDC has released new guidelines for the fully vaccinated, outlining which activities can be mask free. They include: walking, and other outdoor recreation with members of your household. Attending a small, outdoor gathering with fully vaccinated family and friends, and dining at an outdoor restaurant with friends from multiple households.

Even for the fully vaccinated, masks are still required when attending a crowded outdoor event, like a live performance, parade, or sports event, and for all indoors activities outside of one’s own home.

Vaccines have been shown to be highly effective against the stains of COVID-19 currently found in the U.S., but they don’t offer 100 percent protection. Staying safe by wearing a mask and maintaining social distance remains the safest option. Los Angeles is reopening, but the world and even this small microcosm of the world, is still in the middle of a deadly pandemic. For more information visit https://www.cdc.gov