Some San Joaquin County businesses can reopen after months in the purple tier

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — After being just one of three California counties still in the most restrictive reopening tier last week, San Joaquin County officially moved into the red tier Wednesday.

It means some businesses and attractions can resume indoor operations with modifications, including the Haggin Museum

With the exception of a few weeks in October, the Stockton landmark has been closed since the pandemic began.  

“Arts and culture is good for the mind and soul,” said Haggin Museum Deputy Director Susan Obert.

Obert told FOX40 they are excited to open their doors again next week.

“When you work at a nonprofit museum, it’s mission driven,” Obert said. “We want to be open, we want to be sharing with the community.”

Home to both temporary exhibits like awkward family photos and fine art by world renowned artists, the Haggin Museum had been closed for the better part of a year. 

“The thing that we miss most about interacting with the people is it is exciting to see what we do has an impact on people,” Obert explained.

San Joaquin County had been stuck on the state’s purple, most restrictive tier for 19 weeks.

“All of our restaurants can go back to dining inside, granted at a smaller percentage than normal,” said Tiffany Heyer, a spokeswoman for San Joaquin County’s Office of Emergency Services. “But they’re back inside. Our gyms can reopen to a small percentage, movie theaters, museums. So lots of places to get to reopen and just in time for spring break and for summer.”

The county has to stay in the red tier for at least three weeks and keep case infection rates and hospitalizations down and testing numbers up before it can progress to the orange tier. 

“We don’t want to backslide. We don’t want to have to return to purple,” Heyer told FOX40. “It really depends on the community, testing, continuing to stay distant and getting vaccines.”

While the museum is happy to welcome visitors back inside, they are even happier to provide an outlet for the community.  

“We think that we play a real role in the community’s recovery,” Obert said. “And so, giving people a chance to sort of have that escape and that time to themselves we think is going to be really valuable.”

The museum will undergo another deep cleaning and put up more signage about social distancing and masks, and said they will be ready for guests next Wednesday for normal business hours.

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