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COVID: Bay Area Businesses React To CDC Easing Quarantine Guidelines

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) – Bay Area business owners worried about potential COVID-19 staffing shortages may find relief after the Centers for Disease Control announced new quarantine guidelines Monday.

The agency is now recommending individuals isolate for five days after testing positive if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask around others.

Officials with the California Department of Public Health followed suit, saying they would follow the CDC recommendations late Monday afternoon.

With so many businesses facing labor shortages, the changes will impact everyday work life.

The wheels haven't stopped turning at Toscalito Tire and Automotive, despite the twists and turns for testing and quarantining, as COVID cases rise sharply across the country.

"It's a way of life that we've come accustomed to.  We have to deal with it properly and hygienically," said store manager Loren Winfrey.

Luckily, no one at the shop has tested positive. The workflow hasn't stalled on the ground.

But in the air, thousands of flights had to be canceled over the weekend because of infected staff and shortages.

Meanwhile, plans to bring workers back into offices are in limbo. The vast spread of the omicron variant is keeping many desks and chairs empty for now and people working from home.

"We're reverting a little bit back to what we know how to do," said San Francisco Chamber of Commerce CEO Rodney Fong.

"In San Francisco, while it doesn't seem as busy on the streets, it's still highly productive at the dining room table," said Fong.

Airlines quickly pushed for the CDC to ease its quarantine guidelines for fully vaccinated.  Fong and business leaders are hoping the city's Department of Public Health follows suit, so businesses can meet demand.

"We're tracking that very closely and working with the Department of Public Health, encouraging to ease it when it's safe.  We're in the middle of a spike right now so maybe it's not the best time to do that," Fong told KPIX 5.

Winfrey hasn't had to close shop because of any outbreaks.

But that doesn't mean he hasn't seen COVID's impact on businesses around him.

"The Starbucks was closed, this one was closed.  At 10 in the morning all those things should be open, so I've seen it," said Winfrey.

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