Bay Area Counties Begin To Roll Back Reopening Efforts, Dining Included

Outdoor Dining
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Updated July 12, 7:35 p.m.

Several Bay Area counties are rolling back on reopening efforts due to the recent surge of positive coronavirus cases throughout the state, with most of those counties added to its watch list. Some of those counties include Contra Costa, Marin, Santa Clara, Sacramento, Solano and Alameda.

Counties that are on the state's watch list for three days are required to shut down bars and indoor dining in restaurants for at least three weeks, although bars and indoor dining.

Contra Costa CountyIn Contra Costa County, the percentage of people testing positive for the coronavirus over the past seven days has jumped, so indoor gatherings are being shut down.

Indoor religious services and cultural activities were allowed to resume in June with attendance limited to 100 people. Supervisor John Gioia told KCBS Radio that the infection rate is now more than 8%.

"There’s been a sharp rise in the number of positive tests and the percentage of individuals testing positive, as well as the number of hospitalizations," he said.

Social distancing and face coverings are mandatory, even in your social bubble, unless you are eating or drinking. 

Gioia does admit that the rules can be confusing.

"There are changing health orders and some different rules in different counties, so it is important to have one clear message," Gioia said. "At this time, that message is: no indoor gatherings, which means no religious services, no protests or funerals."

Sonoma CountyIndoor dining in Sonoma County breweries, wineries and restaurants is being put on hold, as of 12:01 a.m. Monday. 

Alameda CountyIn Alameda County, outdoor dining once is, once again, off the menu due to stricter guidance issued by the state on July 9. 

Alameda County Officials released a statement on Friday stating that all restaurants in the county can only offer take-out and delivery options.

Update to yesterday's statement on outdoor dining in @AlamedaCounty

— Alameda County Public Health Department (@Dare2BWell) July 11, 2020

Arty Larpnampha is co-owner of Farmhouse Kitchen in Oakland’s Jack London Square, which was offering outdoor dining since the county gave restaurants the green light last month. He learned on Friday night that he’d have to stop and would do so as to not “get in trouble.”

"Jack London Square is really nice," he said. "It’s along the water, nice weather and it’s open air."

Somi Son owns Cafe Au Lait in Alameda, and just found out about the updated rules, but told KCBS Radio she only has the capacity to service four to five people.

"We’re mainly a to-go type of place, so it won’t affect us too much," Son said. 

Alameda County had applied for variance, or permission, from the state to re-open, but put that process on hold a couple of weeks ago due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. 

In the statement, health officials said they now will continue the process. 

But some cities aren't on board with the new restrictions. Livermore and Hayward say they will not enforce the revised order and would proceed with planned street closures this weekend to allow for more space for outdoor dining. The City of Oakland replied to the new restrictions through a press release on Saturday, saying it will not enforce the order, ultimately calling for better clarity from the county and state to help guide restaurant owners in how to move forward. It also announced it will put the "Flex Streets" program on hold until it gets more answers.

In changing regulatory environment, see #Oakland outdoor dining update. Flex Streets for restaurants on temp hold till clarity from County & State. City’s enforcement not changed, State may enforce outdoor dining ban in Alameda Co., including citations.

— City of Oakland (@Oakland) July 11, 2020