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Indoor dining returns at 25% capacity in Santa Clara County

Bay Area

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Indoor dining is returning to the South Bay. This week, Santa Clara County moved up into the state’s “orange” tier of reopening.

Restaurants can now seat people inside at 25 percent of normal capacity.

Restaurants in Santa Clara County have been waiting seven months to reopen indoors. Now they have more options to serve their customers.

“It’s been a very, very long time,” Syrus Fotovat said. It will be interesting to be able to see somebody while I’m working now.”

Fotovat is the bar manager of Braise restaurant and bar in San Jose’s Willow Glen neighborhood.

The restaurant has been ready to reopen their dining room..taking the necessary COVID-19 precautions to keep customers safe.

The first indoor table sat Wednesday afternoon.

“Things change kind of every week where all of us kind of rearranging just trying to maximize what we have but also, of course, keep people safe and so now that we know that we can have people inside, we’re really just kind of going to take this week to shuffle things around and see how many more people we can fit within that 25 percent while also keeping people distanced,” Fotovat said.

Public health officials say Santa Clara County has slowly drifted down to meeting the metrics of the state’s “orange tier”.

As of this week, the county has an average daily COVID-19 case count of 3.7 cases per 100,000 population – the metric says counties need to have below 4 cases.

Restaurants can now seat people inside but only up to 100 people or 25 percent of normal capacity, whichever is fewer.

But county officials still consider indoor dining a risk.

“We will be out there with our enforcement teams ensuring that there’s compliance with that local requirement and with the local directives,” James Williams, county counsel of County of Santa Clara, said.

Back at Braise, Fotovat hopes everyone will do their part to prevent COVID-19 from spreading in the county, especially when the weather changes.

“Once it starts raining hopefully we can have more than 25 percent inside. Fingers crossed,” Fotovat said. “We’ll see how it goes.”

A number of restaurants in Santa Clara County tell KRON4 they are choosing to stay closed indoors and sticking to takeout and outdoor dining.

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