Red Versus Orange Tiers: A COVID comparison

San+Mateo+County+recently+entered+the+orange+tier%2C+allowing+more+indoor+eating+with+some+restrictions%2C+as+seen+here+in+San+Carlos.

Oliver Fichte

San Mateo County recently entered the orange tier, allowing more indoor eating with some restrictions, as seen here in San Carlos.

Activities like going out to movie theaters or eating at restaurants seem like things of the past. Or are they? For the past few weeks, San Mateo County has been in the red tier, which started on February 23. However, according to a Blueprint for a Safer Economy, San Mateo County entered the orange tier. But to understand the color tier system and its contents, one must take a step back and take a look at everything within it. 

First and foremost are restaurants. People have been longing for restaurants since the pandemic began. Still, with so much uncertainty in the air, it may be challenging to know in which way one can visit their favorite establishment.

"Restaurants indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)," wrote San Mateo County in a news release about the red tier.

The red tier restrictions include indoor dining, unlike the purple tier, which only had outdoor. However, the orange tier loosens this restriction further, allowing 50% of restaurant capacity or 200 customers, whichever is less. To add on, throughout the pandemic, people have wanted to see family and friends. While this is allowed in both the red tier and orange tier, it is not encouraged. 

"Small private gatherings are allowed outdoors and indoors with modifications," wrote San Mateo County in a news release about the red tier. 

And suppose one does choose to partake in a gathering. In that case, it is vital to note that only three households may meet. It's also essential to know that shouting, chanting, and singing are discouraged and that people with a high risk of sickness should not attend. Travelling is also not recommended in most cases in the red tier. 

"Californians should remain local (not traveling more than 120 miles from their home or other place of residence) and avoid non-essential travel," wrote San Mateo County in a news release about the red tier.

In the orange tier, this gets a bit less restrictive, allowing some more travel. 

"You can travel for urgent matters or if such travel is essential to your permitted work. Even though businesses around the state are opening up, avoid traveling long distances for vacations or pleasure as much as possible," wrote San Mateo County about the past orange tier in October

In the red tier, many other forms of entertainment are closed as well. Still, small amusement parks can open in the orange tier. 

"Amusement parks, bars without meal service, bowling alleys, indoor playgrounds, live theater, saunas and steam rooms, nightclubs, and festivals are not permitted," wrote San Mateo County in a news release about the red tier.

 

Covid Comparison by Oliver Fichte

Carlmont students are also aware of the regulations, carefully planning their day-to-day activities alongside these regulations. For example, Seona Sherman, a junior, usually stays home during most days in quarantine. 

"For the most part, I've been staying inside like a lot like I don't really go outside much at all other than to just like exercise or walk around on my own," Sherman said.

However, she also mentioned that earlier in the year, close to the elections, she helped out at a poll center, keeping it safe and up to COVID-19 standards. 

"I was just at a polling station and helping, so that was the one time I did something outside and spent time around other people, and it was safe," Sherman said. "We were the ones helping to abide by those regulations. 

However, after we moved to the purple tier and now back into the orange tier, she does not feel "that much safer." Still, she might consider seeing her friends and socializing a bit more, keeping it safe and outdoors, of course.

"I feel it's not much of a difference in my opinion. I still want to be as safe as possible, but I kind of appreciate [the] offer to have more hangouts with friends safely and in parks," Sherman said. 

She also looks ahead to the future, in which she hopes for things to go somewhat back to normal, wishing to go back to our school's campus or the library safely.

"I would definitely appreciate having any different opportunities that are open," Sherman said. "I'm part of this volunteer group, and we just meet on zoom, but if we were able to meet in person, that'd be cool."

Gavin Savay, another junior at Carlmont, has been acting very similarly during the pandemic. As soon as the purple tier started late November last year, he and his family began to stay inside more. 

"When we reached the purple tier, my family became much more protective regarding COVID. We didn't see as many people at all; you know, we stayed within the confines of our home," Savay said. 

Now that we are in the orange tier, however, he hopes to hang out more with friends, safely, of course. 

"I assume I'll plan on social distancing with friends or just going outside, and maybe eating outside? You know, at restaurants that have established that you can," Savay said. 

Savay wants things to go at least somewhat back to normal but doubts it will until everyone receives a vaccine. 

"I could be a little bit more laid back about what I do or the frequency of which I interact with friends," Savay said. 

Regardless of which color-coded tier San Mateo County remains in, it is essential to keep wearing masks and social distancing. If everyone does their part, this pandemic will be beaten.

"Local health officials encourage residents to continue to get tested, follow health and safety guidelines," San Mateo County Wrote in a news release about the red tier.