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Most middle school children in Watsonville have benefited from a visit to the Watsonville Wetlands. It’s a non-profit...

Hey, happy Thursday everyone. There were a number of developments today so let’s get right to them …

➤ The beloved Nickelodeon theater is not guaranteed to be open in the foreseeable future. That is a sad pandemic reality we’ll all be grappling with until we hear more hopeful news.
➤ The soon-to-be-orange picture painted by county health officials Thursday is a continuation of the encouraging path we’ve been on.
➤ Pandemic-driven discriminatory acts against Asians and Asian Americans in this country — even in the diverse Bay Area — continue.

We’re announcing our latest Lookout event today, so be sure to check out more on that below. Now on to the headlines …

Where did my Nickelodeon go?

The empty poster windows outside the Nick.
Credit: Kevin Painchaud/Lookout Santa Cruz

COVID ECONOMY: When will Santa Cruz’s beloved old arthouse cinema reopen again? Even the president of the chain that runs the theater doesn’t know — and he isn’t guaranteeing a reopening anytime soon. Perhaps not ever. Wallace Baine with the sobering report here.

‘Lower than we’ve seen in many months’

Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
Doses of the COVID-19 vaccine ready to be administered at a vaccine clinic in Santa Cruz County. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

COVID TODAY: Santa Cruz County’s COVID testing positivity rate, now at 1.2%, is “lower than we’ve seen in many months, if ever,” county Health Officer Gail Newel said Thursday, meaning it is “essentially guaranteed,” the county will move to the less restrictive orange reopening tier on March 30. We round up health officials’ latest insights here.

VACCINE WATCH: In a sign that California’s uneven COVID-19 vaccine rollout is significantly ramping up, nearly 1 million Californians have gotten a shot in the past two days, data show. Mallory Pickett & the LA Times elaborate here.

Fewer jobs, more wine: California’s deadly COVID year in 9 charts

Jade Fountaine, a bartender at Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola Village, holds up a drink.
Jade Fountaine, a bartender at Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola Village, holds up a drink. Credit: Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz

PANDEMIC LIFE: The changes that have racked Californians are big and small, obvious and subtle. We can mark them by the daily toll of this terrible virus, the days spent out of work or out of school, and a wide variety of other metrics, including our alcohol consumption. Cal Matters added all this data up into nine charts, and they’re well worth a look here.

The pandemic rise in hate crimes

Asian American woman
Credit: Via Pixabay

Does California need a hotline for reporting hate crimes? Just ask Atlanta
➤ ‘I might be dead right now’: Asian man describes brutal attack on S.F. street
California approves ethnic studies curriculum for K-12 schools after years of debate

More from here & elsewhere

Bay Area traffic is almost as high as it was pre-pandemic (SF Gate)
Masks are not theater, Fauci tells Sen. Rand Paul in hearing exchange (CNN)
Is it ever OK to skip the vaccine line? Bay Area health experts weigh in. (SF Gate)
U.S. likely needs to include vaccinating children to reach herd immunity, Fauci says (CNN)
Vaccines could prevent asymptomatic infection. Here’s why that’s key to ending the pandemic. (NBC News)
Biden Administration To Meet Goal Of 100 Million Vaccine Doses On Friday (NPR)
3 Ways the Pandemic Has Made the World Better (The Atlantic)

Our next big Lookout event

Lookout event flyer

SCHOOL REOPENINGS IN SANTA CRUZ COUNTY: It’s been a long pandemic year for educators, students and parents. So what does the rest of it hold, and what’s on tap for 2021-22? County Office of Eduction Superintendent Dr. Faris Sabbah and COE school safety director Jennifer Buesing answer your questions in our latest Lookout event on Tuesday, March 30 at 6 p.m. Sign up for the event here.

A question for you

Have you specifically supported a local business through the pandemic in an effort to make sure they stick around? If so, which ones and why? This is your chance to shout them out.

And hey … tomorrow is Friday, folks. See you all then!

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...