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Sacramento County Restaurants Forced To Close Indoor Operations Again: 'I'm Devastated'

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento and Stanislaus counties are back to square one. Both counties in the purple tier again, which means no more indoor operations.

This will be shut down number three for some midtown Sacramento restaurants, and this time, it's happening when the temperatures are dropping. Some owners say it's nearly impossible to operate solely outside.

"I know we'll see more of our friends lose businesses, but I'm not sure how we'll survive," said Ray Ballestro, Owner at Allaro.

Business is down 25 percent at Allaro in Midtown Sacramento just in the past week. Ballestro thinks it's because of the cold.

"We went from misters to heaters, it seems like overnight," said Ballestro.

And now, that's his only option. When counties are in the purple tier, restaurants, houses of worship bars and gyms have to stop indoor operations. The state's health secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly blames the spike in cases on private household gatherings. He expects half of the state to drop tiers next week.

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"I'm devastated," said Jennifer Swiryn, the owner of Morning Fork.

She says it's impossible to operate only outside with twice the work making a quarter of the money.

"We pray every day that we get to survive," she said.

On Tuesday, Dr. Ghaly was asked what could happen if businesses rebel against the state ruling. He only​ said it's on every​ Californian to stop the spread and help businesses stay open.

"We are doing what we can to reduce transmission so that those efforts can manifest in lower data and keep our businesses open," he said.

These two restaurant owners call it a "big risk" for other restaurants who may stay open indoors. Both are planning to follow the rules, and stay open outside, as long as they can.

"Going against county recommendations is not what I want to do, but I hope the county would support us and know this is not where the issues are coming from," said Ballestro.

In Sacramento County, the tier change goes into effect at noon on Friday. Stanislaus County wants to convince the state to delay its return to purple for at least a week and submitted a request for tier adjudication.

In a statement, Stanislaus County said it "disagrees that the qualitative and contextual elements of the local status of COVID-19 are correctly represented by the current metrics measured by the CDPH."

During the adjudication, the county will remain in the red tier and officials expect to be assigned their tier by next Tuesday.

Two other counties, El Dorado and Placer, have also filed for tier adjudication. A spokesperson for Placer County says the county's request has already been denied.

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