Merced only California county remaining in state’s most restrictive purple tier, keeping many businesses closed


Only one county remains in the strictest section of California’s reopening road map, a heartening sign of progress in the battle against the coronavirus as businesses and other public spaces continue wider reopenings.

The lone remaining denizen of the purple tier is Merced County, according to state data released Tuesday. Inyo County had been keeping it company but officially moved into the less-restrictive red tier.

The recent exodus from the purple tier has been stunning. Thirty-four of California’s 58 counties were in that category on March 9. The month before, all but five counties were in the tier.

Also progressing this week are Kern and Lake counties, which moved from the red to the even-more-lenient orange tier, and Lassen County, which progressed all the way to the yellow tier, the least restrictive of the four categories in the color-coded reopening blueprint.

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