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Update: Alameda, Santa Cruz, Solano County Move Into Red Tier, Business Owners To Reopen Indoor Operations

ALAMEDA (CBS SF) -- Alameda, Santa Cruz and Solano counties were elevated to the less restrictive Red Tier Monday, allowing their struggling restaurants to offer limited indoor dining and clearing the way for fans to be in the stands when the Oakland A's begin regular season play.

For counties in the Red Tier, indoor restaurant dining rooms and movie theaters can reopen at 25% capacity or up to 100 people, whichever is fewer. Gyms and dance and yoga studios can open at 10% capacity. Museums, zoos and aquariums can open indoor activities at 25% capacity.

Prep sports can also can finally get underway and schools can reopen under the state restrictions.

Meanwhile with Alameda now in the Red Tier, fans will be allowed at 20% capacity at A's games.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguín immediately issued a statement calling for his city's schools to reopen.

"The shift into the Red Tier means that Berkeley's public schools can, and should, reopen safely and successfully," he said. "Based on the guidelines developed by the California Department of Public Health, schools located in a Red Tier jurisdiction are eligible to safely reopen for in-person instruction. The authority to reopen schools rests with the Berkeley Unified School District, and I strongly encourage the District to welcome students, teachers, and staff back into the physical classroom."

For the last two weeks, Alameda County has been within the state guidelines to be elevated from Purple to the Red Tier.

New COVID cases are 6.3 per 100,000 residents, below the state mandate for movement of 7 cases. The positively rate has dropped to 2.4 percent well below the 8 percent state mandate.

"We're finally going to get back to some normalcy," Alameda Theater and Cinema Grill owner Kyle Conner told KPIX 5 in anticipation of the announcement. "It'll be a journey. Got to gear up all the staffing."

During the pandemic theater shutdown stemming back nearly a year, Conner has been operating a widely popular weekend drive-in movie venue at the former Alameda Naval Air Station. He plans to keep the drive-in operating at last until May.

As his indoor theater reopens, he faces a dilemma. Since the pandemic began, studios have reduce their releases and also went to a streaming strategy.

"The second part is there's got to be movies to play," he said. "And right now, there's not a lot of movies to play."

"The sad thing is," he continued, "I think we'll probably lose more money opening then staying close for the first 4 to 6 months because of the 25% capacity."

But there is also a mix reaction to reopenings. Many feel it is too soon.

"I'm not ready to put myself at risk at this point," said Toni Bonde.

The feeling was the same for Claire Bonde.

"Once everybody has their mask off and we're in an enclosed space, I'm not ready yet," Bonde said. "More people will need to be vaccinated before that's okay with me."


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