Which businesses can and can’t reopen in Oakland due to COVID-19?

Map of California's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Purple areas have widespread cases. Lighter yellow areas have minimal cases.

Long known for “purple,” the word may have a new connotation for Oakland during the COVID-19 pandemic starting today.

The Town and Alameda County have a new distinction of purple on California’s new color-coded four-tier system as part of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Each county is assigned to a tier based on the rate of new cases and percentage of positive cases. 

Alameda County is ranked “purple,” meaning cases are widespread and many non-essential indoor businesses are closed. Over half of the state’s counties are ranked purple, the most restrictive tier. 

To move to the next tier, substantial, moderate, and minimal, a county must meet that tier’s criteria for two weeks in a row. If conditions worsen in a county for two consecutive weeks, a more restrictive tier will be assigned. 

A number of businesses have been allowed to reopen at a reduced capacity in the past week, including malls, grocery stores, and hair salons. See Alameda County’s list of reopenings.

To date, Oakland has 7,385 coronavirus cases and 251 people have died in Alameda County due to COVID-19, according to the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Is it safe to ride transit?

Bay Area public transit has experienced a massive drop in ridership since COVID-19 and shelter-in-place orders in the region. While many still rely on AC Transit for essential services, buses now restrict the number of passengers. 

The region’s planning body, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, recently launched a regional “healthy transit plan.”The website will soon feature a dashboard. 

AC Transit’s bus driver and mechanics union criticized the plan for not protecting workers. 

AC Transit halted transit service this weekend after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19, Berkeleyside reports.

Other news

Oakland Parks and Recreation is offering after school programs for young people.

Officials cancelled the Oakland A’s Sunday game after a member of the organization tested positive for the coronavirus.

I got tested for COVID-19

Last week i got my first COVID-19 test. I attended the newish Chinatown testing location in Oakland. From the time I got in line to the point I left the park was just 12 minutes. I received my test results that night. I hope to remain ‘rona-free.

Author Profile

Rasheed Shabazz is a multimedia storyteller, urban planning historian, and youth development professional based in the Bay Area. He is co-director of Oakland Voices. He recently completed his Masters of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley. 


  1. I agree with the last post in that people aren’t taking this virus seriously. There are mostly young people not wearing masks thinking they are immune to the virus. If they knew someone with this terrible virus and its affects in the body especially after they are over it, they will think twice. There are lots of side effects such as blood clots, neurological problems, hair falling out, loss of apetite, fatigue, etc. Please keep in touch with the latest information available.

  2. the reason that there is a surge in Oakland is because no one believes that the virus is real. People want to go out, hang out and congregate. So they still have gatherings, parties and functions, they’ll worry about the virus, IF and WHEN , they get it.

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