ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) – Officials on Wednesday announced that the state has given Alameda County the green light to resume outdoor dining with safety guidelines in place, as well as the OK for the Oakland Zoo to resume outdoor activities.

For outdoor dining, the county has mandated the use of face coverings at ALL times, except only when eating or drinking.

“I’m so thankful the health department and board of supervisors and the state got it turned around so quickly,” Cindy Kahl said.

Outdoor dining began in Alameda County on June 19, only to be suspended by the state last Friday because the state said the county had not received a waiver to proceed. That OK came Wednesday morning, meaning restaurants do not have to resort to pickup and delivery only which won’t even pay the bills.

“I don’t get as many tables outside as inside but I have full staffing and can pay my bills and reemploy people,” Demitris Kapalanis said. “I am not saying we are making profit but as long as everyone can have a paycheck that’s humongous.”

Concerns over laying off staff and not being able to pay the bills forced some restaurants to stay open over the last few days. Still, getting the state’s OK means a lot especially to new restaurants like Azul.

“I can’t even tell you what a weight off our shoulders,” MJ Moreno said. “My wife and I are just overwhelmingly happy this happened.”

but the on-again-off-again nature of state directives and the rapid spread of COVID-19 means it’s no time for restaurants to breathe easy.

Additionally, places of worship are allowed to hold outdoor services only. Indoor services remain prohibited.

Indoor malls will also be required to close.

Other indoor retail is not impacted at this time.

Officials said the county will remain paused in reopening plans as it remains on the state’s COVID-19 watch list.

To read the full public health order, click here.

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