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COVID: Pleasanton Restaurants Defy Extended Stay at Home Order As Bay Area ICU Capacity Drops To 3%

PLEASANTON (CBS SF) -- The streets of downtown Pleasanton were relatively quiet Saturday night, but some people were out and about patronizing restaurants that are pushing back against the local and state COVID stay-at-home rules in order to survive.

Chianti's Reserve on Main Street chose to defy the region's now indefinite stay-at-home order and serve diners outside. When asked for a comment about the defiance, officials with the Italian restaurant declined to talk to KPIX 5 on camera.

"If you are at risk or feel uncomfortable you should absolutely stay at home, but I also think that this gentleman who has a restaurant should be allowed to support his family, the people who work for him should be allowed to support their family," said Michelle Stratton of Livermore. "And the people who come here and feel comfortable coming her should be welcome."

Down the block, Baci Bistro and Bar was busy with takeout service, but allowed people to eat their meals at its outdoor dining setup.

"I mean we keep trying to patronize them and give them our money as much as we can, but bringing it home is not the same and it's just getting old," said Carey Nassar of Pleasanton.

Meanwhile, the Bay Area's ICU availability remains at 3% Saturday, well below the 15% need to lift most restrictions and reopen restaurants.

The Bay Area stay-at-home order could have been lifted as early as Friday, but given the surge, it was not expected to happen.

Because it takes two weeks for people to end up in the hospital, the impact from New Year's gatherings still has not yet been seen.

"It is going to get much worse before it gets better," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, an infectious disease expert and part of President-Elect Joe Biden's COVID-19 Advisory Board.

Southern California is so overwhelmed with cases it has mobile mortuaries already set up outside hospitals in Los Angeles, where on person dies every eight minutes.

California is also one of at least eight states where the highly contagious variant of the virus has been detected.

"We know that in England, because the B117 was so catchy, it became the dominant strain in just three months. So I think between the surges and the fact that it's already here in the United States, this will probably become the dominant strain in a couple months," said Dr. Malathi Srinivasan with Stanford Health Care.

The makers of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines say they are confident their vaccines will protect against the new strain.

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