This week, the state moved Contra Costa County into the Orange tier of the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy,
enabling more reopening. This includes outdoor social gatherings of up to three different households, and no more than 25 people.
This is a mixture of good news, with flashing-yellow-caution.
It's challenging in winter, when temperatures get cooler, but health experts are stressing the need to keep all gatherings outdoors and avoid combining people from many different households. Even 25 people is a lot for outdoor gatherings in small spaces.
Indoor gatherings of any size beyond the members of your immediate household are not recommended.
Zoom or online parties are the safest.
While Contra Costa, and the Bay Area in general, are doing well in lowering the rates of COVID-19, other parts of the country are experiencing serious upswings.
With an airborne virus like COVID-19, we can take steps to slow the spread, and protect ourselves and others near us from catching it. This is what face coverings and social distancing do. But we can't block off the virus from moving from one geographic area to another - it's in the air and constantly in motion.
Health officials advise the following safety tips for in-person gatherings:
- Outdoors is safer than indoors. During the colder months, gathering outside will be more challenging, but is much safer than being inside. Plan to dress warmly or purchase outdoor space heaters to help you socialize comfortably outside in the winter.
- Try not to mix with too many other households. Participating in gatherings with different households or groups increases your risk of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19.
- Keep it short. Gatherings should be two hours or less. The longer the duration, the risk of transmission increases.
- Wear face coverings. This is especially important when coming into contact with people from another household - even if they're relatives. People at gatherings may remove their face coverings briefly to eat or drink as long as they stay at least 6 feet away from everyone outside of their own household, and put their face covering back on as soon as they are done eating.
- Don't attend a gathering if you feel sick.
If we continue our commitment to COVID-19 prevention, and work together to keep ourselves and our loved ones and communities heathy, our second wave, which is expected, may not be as bad as the first.
We can do this! Thanks for your efforts.