Servando Vargas/Courier A mixed media illustration satirizing “The Game of Life: A family game” with regards to tiered opening in the state of California created on November 2, 2020. The state has four tiers to determine what establishments can reopen with modifications due to the pandemic.

As Southern California residents continue to demand the reopening of theme parks, restaurants, and malls, almost every county is still within the first tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy created by Governor Newsom.

The Governor and his team created a guideline containing four different progressive stages, asking counties to follow the criteria for reopening business and helping reduce the spread of COVID-19. These tiers are Widespread (1), Substantial (2), Moderate (3), and Minimal (4), based on the rate the virus is spreading within each county. With the state using this blueprint, it’s easier for public health officials to track the spread of the dangerous virus. The chart is updated weekly so residents all over the state can check their county’s progress.

As of October 17, Los Angeles County is still within the Widespread tier and has been since the plan was created. LA currently has a rate of about 11 new cases a day per 100,000 people, and to move on to the next tier there needs to be seven or less cases per day. Even though 11 cases doesn’t sound like a very large amount, officials are counting 11 cases for every 100,000 people in LA county’s population of 10.1 million people. With over 1,300 cases per day, it’s clear that things won’t be changing in LA anytime soon.

While parts of northern California are within the Minimal and Moderate tiers, most of the state still remains in the bottom two tiers. The LA Times reported that the city of San Francisco was able to successfully enter the last step, the Minimal tier, despite the city being the second densest city in the country. San Francisco has a population of about 3.3 million people, with less than 40 cases per day.

As much as the people of LA County want attractions and businesses to reopen, moving forward will be hard if everyone doesn’t follow the guidelines set by public health officials and Mayor Eric Garcetti.

Health officials also have not set a timeline for when SoCal schools are going to reopen. Many schools, including PCC, have confirmed that the next Spring semester in 2021 will continue online with remote learning in place. Even with Pasadena’s small population of about 141,000, it is still unsafe to have large gatherings of students.

On PCC’s website, it said that about 30,000 students attend every semester, and many of them live outside of Pasadena in surrounding areas. So even with the smaller number of total COVID-19 cases in Pasadena being about 2,820, opening the campus for in-person classes would still be dangerous.

Overall, in terms of reopening businesses, parks, gyms, malls, etc., LA County has not been producing the most successful results. While so many people are following guidelines by wearing face masks and social distancing as much as possible, it’s still likely the virus is going to continue to spread due to those not following the same rules. It’s been an issue in many cities throughout Southern California where people are still having large gatherings while completely disregarding the fact that there is a worldwide pandemic going on. So, if people want things to get back to normal, these guidelines need to be strongly enforced and obeyed.

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