BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — It may be a sign of hope during a difficult time. Kern County is set to move into a less restrictive tier as coronavirus cases and the local positivity rate declines.

Kern County is eligible to move into the red tier on Oct. 13 pending assessment results on Oct. 12, local officials say. The less restrictive tier allows schools, restaurants, gyms, houses of worship and other businesses to reopen with modifications.

Gov. Gavin Newsom debuted in August the four-tier system which helps counties in California to safely reopen. The color-coded system is broken into categories — widespread, substantial, moderate and minimal. Each category has a set number of restrictions on businesses and other sectors.

California’s four-tier reopening guidelines for counties went into effect Aug. 31, 2020.

Kern County entered the new tiered system in the widespread category and has not been allowed to move into another tier until now.

The county met the metrics to move into the red tier but the state adjusted and penalized our numbers because not enough people were getting tested.

Although Kern is moving into this new tier, there are still strict guidelines that the state is enforcing.

Restaurants can open indoors for 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. Bars, where no meals are provided, must remain closed.

Houses of worship can open indoors with 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

Although the red tier allows schools to reopen, the county has to be in the tier for two weeks before in-person instruction can resume. Kern still would have to be in the red tier on Oct. 20 in order for schools to reopen. Local school and health officials may decide to open elementary schools for a limited number of students, according to state guidelines.

Gyms can open indoors with 10% capacity.

New guidelines for all industries can be found here.