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COVID: Bay Area Counties Move To Red Tier Easing Restrictions On Businesses, Public And Private Gatherings

BURLINGAME (CBS SF) -- At the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, San Mateo and Marin counties moved from the purple tier to the red tier, easing COVID-19 restrictions for businesses and individuals.

Exiting the purple tier means indoor dining is now allowed at 25 percent capacity in San Mateo and Marin Counties.

For Crepevine in Downtown Burlingame that means it can offer up to 4 tables inside.

"It helps for customers, especially when we have adults or seniors that they don't want to sit outside with this weather, so it helps a lot," said Manager Giovanni Cea.

The red tier also means that museums, movie theaters and gyms can reopen at reduced capacities. Reopening public schools are up to districts.

There was a palpable sense of excitement and optimism at restaurants Tuesday night, knowing that starting Wednesday they can expand indoors.

"Relieved, I'm feeling relieved, that it's getting better. I just got my second vaccination yesterday," said Judy Miller, a diner from Redwood Shores.

Recent studies have shown that the risk of infection is higher in poorly ventilated indoor spaces for long periods of time, combined with the lack of masking. Restaurants, cafes and gyms are transmission hotspots.

Though they welcome the less restrictive tier, not everybody is ready to take up indoor dining.

"We're still more comfortable eating out, so you know we have the wipes, we have everything. So I think as long as it's outside and we have all the fresh air, we're good," said Payman Nejati of South San Francisco. "Indoor with a 3 year old - it's too complicated, you know, he wants to touch everything."

The red tier also allows small private gatherings indoors and outdoors with modifications including masking, and no more than three households, including the host's.

"I'm glad to be with my friends, have a glass of wine, see people happy, and see smiles," said diner Diana Yehia of San Mateo.

San Francisco is staying in the purple tier for now, but it could move out of it as early as next Tuesday, as the governor anticipates.

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