Quick Take:

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Hey, and happy Wednesday, everyone — it was one of those days of subtle significance in these pandemic, inch-our-way-back-from-the-brink times.

Unless you were grubbing on a plate of breakfast goodness at one of your favorite greasy spoons that wasn’t about to miss the first day of 25% capacity indoor dining. Nothing subtle about that moment of success.

We sent our ace photojournalist Kevin Painchaud out around the county with a simple charge: Show us what the red reboot looks like. From restaurants to gyms to kava bars, Kevin didn’t let us down. It’s not in his nature.

We’ve also got rundowns on the latest county data, with an opportunity to learn more on vaccine distribution from county health officials coming up tomorrow. There’s also an interesting look from our LA Times content partner on whether we’re primed for a meteoric recovery. (Knock wood.)

To the headlines…

‘We’ve been waiting for this’: Santa Cruz County returns to red tier

Joey Ward from La Selva enjoys his first workout in almost a year at Cabrillo Fitness.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

COVID ECONOMY: Santa Cruz County residents and businesses moved to the less restrictive red tier Wednesday … again. From working out to eating and drinking up, life moved closer to normal. More of what that looked like from Kevin here.

Four new deaths, including one person in their 30s

File images of nurses and doctors in surgery
Credit: via Pixabay

COVID TODAY: Four new COVID-19 deaths were reported by the county Wednesday, including one person in their 30s, a reminder that age is not a guaranteed protection against the disease. This person who died did have underlying health conditions, according to data from the county health agency. More on that and the what the other latest data tells from Mallory Pickett.

California will recover from the pandemic faster than the U.S., forecast says

Sections of Hollywood Land opened as a part of the Buena Vista Street extension at Disney California Adventure
Disney California Adventure plans to reopen in March 2021 at limited capacity for walks through the park and food and merchandise purchases. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times)

ECONOMY WATCH: The U.S. and California economies will experience near-record growth this year thanks to widespread vaccinations for COVID-19 and massive federal relief for struggling workers and businesses, UCLA forecasters predict. “A waning pandemic combined with fiscal relief means a strong year of growth in 2021 — one of the strongest years of growth in the last 60 years — followed by sustained higher growth rates in 2022 and 2023,” according to the quarterly economic outlook released Wednesday. More from our LA Times content partner on that here.

More from here & elsewhere

Money for colleges, libraries and clubs: 10 things you might not know are in Biden’s COVID-19 relief package (USA Today)
Schumer calls Covid aid bill a ‘turning point’ in politics that’ll stop future Trumps (NBC News)
Alabama Official On Vaccine Rollout: ‘How Can This Disparity Exist In This Country?’ (NPR)
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene tried to hold up the COVID stimulus bill. She’s done this before. (USA Today)
Here’s the latest COVID-19 update from Texas (CNN)
Despite Pandemic, 300,000 Expected at Florida Motorcycle Rally (NY Times)
Beloved San Francisco owner of Noe Hill Market dies of COVID-19 (SF Gate)


Thursday at 2 p.m., the county will host it weekly health officer briefing. BE ON THE LOOKOUT for a livestream link from us and pass along whatever questions you may have for Drs. Newel, Ghilarducci and Hall.

See you tomorrow!

Mark Conley
Deputy Managing Editor

Follow Mark Conley on: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Mark joins Lookout after 14 years at the Mercury News and Bay Area News Group, where he served as Deputy Sports Editor on a staff that covered three...