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CoCo County restaurants backtrack after rise in COVID-19 cases

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CONTRA COSTA COUNTY, Calif. (KRON) — Tighter restrictions on restaurant capacity levels go into effect in Contra Costa County Friday.

This after the public health department tails back indoor gatherings as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

Some people are OK with sharing a meal at a restaurant indoors.

“Totally, totally feel comfortable,” Joanne Freschi said.

Others are less enthusiastic.

“I’m not ready,” Yvonne Princ said.

“I don’t feel that strong pull to be inside,” Sosie Sagherian said.

And Lesley Stiles and her business partner Tony Lauro sympathize with both sides.

“I personally know two people who have died from COVID, and I know someone who was very sick and didn’t die,” Stiles said. “So, I do know that it’s real.”

Stiles is the owner and co-executive chef of Roxx on Main in Martinez.

Her establishment opened up in August 2019 and she says prior to the pandemic — her capacity was consistently full.

The public health crisis has taken a big bite out of her profits, having lost about 50% of her revenue.

Stiles was hopeful business would pick up when Contra Costa Health Services increased indoor capacity levels to 50% last week.

But was a disappointed, though still understanding, when the public health department announced this week the continued spread of the virus means capacity levels need to go back to 25% Friday.

She feels fortunate to have a patio and work in a city that closes the streets on weekends to allow restaurants to expand outdoor services.

But stiles says this rollercoaster is taking a toll.

“The furniture is getting destroyed moving it in and out every weekend. Every night, we move some of it in and out, but on the weekends on Friday and Saturday nights, the street is closed,” Stiles said. “So, we move all the tables that we can — the tables and chairs, and it’s getting trashed.”

It’s also getting cold out — and Stiles worries people may eventually stop eating outdoors.

She’s working with the city to allow for tents outside.

She already has heaters.

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