SONOMA, Calif. (KRON) — The last two of the Bay Area counties stuck in the purple tier, Sonoma and Contra Costa counties, have now moved to the state’s red reopening tier.
This means schools are now eligible for in-person learning, and more businesses like restaurants and fitness centers can open with limited indoor capacity.
This is the first time that Sonoma County has moved out of the most restrictive purple tier since the state began its four-tier, color coded reopening plan.
Businesses and restaurants in downtown Sonoma say this day couldn’t have come sooner.
Sonoma restaurants welcomed customers indoors on Sunday after the county moved to the state’s red reopening tier.
“Finally. Fabulous,” Carlo Cavallo said. “Took forever but we’re here,”
Cavallo co-owns B&V Whiskey Bar & Grille near Sonoma Plaza with Codi Binkley.
The pair say indoor service has been slow to start.
“As you can see no one really feels comfortable about eating inside.”
While restaurants are now able to open indoors at 25% capacity according to red tier guidelines, Binkley and Cavallo say it’s still not enough to keep their doors open seven days a week. They say they’re temporarily open Thursdays through Sundays for now.
“Still on limited staff. Still on limited hours because to try and open seven days a week like we used to in 2019 we would lose all of our money.”
Meanwhile, down the street at Steiner’s Tavern, a handful of customers chose to dine inside on Sunday.
However, not all restaurants and businesses are welcoming customers indoors just yet.
“We’ll be able to do it in the middle of the week because we need to schedule the staff and we still have some little things we have to move around.”
Under red tier guidelines, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums are also able to open indoors with 25% capacity limits. Gyms can open indoors at 10% capacity and retail can expand to 50% capacity.
While many business owners are disappointed that Sonoma County was one of the last Bay Area counties to move to the red tier. They say they’re happy that things are now moving in the right direction.
“Finally, hopefully getting back to somewhat normalcy.”
While only some of the restaurants began offering indoor service on sunday, the rest say they’ll be open indoor by mid week.