COVID-19 Spike Forces Contra Costa Co. to Stop Higher-Risk Indoor Activities

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People in Contra Costa County now have three day left to dine inside, pump iron indoors and munch on popcorn at the movie theatre. 

Health officials say a spike in COVID-19 cases is forcing them to put a stop to those higher-risk indoor activities -- a financial blow to businesses who were just starting to see an uptick in customers. 

Starting Tuesday, it’s back to take-out or eating outside in, if the weather allows.  

“I don’t know what we’ll do. I haven’t digested it quite yet,” said Martinez restaurant owner Ryan Geiser.

While the patrons at Papi’s in Martinez digest their pizza, the news that Contra Costa County will soon ban indoor dining is a tough pill for this restaurant owner to swallow. 

“Going back to selling to-go food isn’t a solid game plan for any business who is in the food service industry. It’s not paying the bills that’s for sure,” said Geiser, adding he’s leaned on banks and family to keep the doors open at his two restaurants. 

“I haven’t laid off a single employee through all this. We’ve switched our game plan a few times,” he said.

And now, Geiser’s got to switch the game plan again. In order to make sure local hospitals aren’t overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients, the county’s health officer says risky indoor activities need to stop. 

Starting Tuesday, no indoor gym workouts either.

“Gyms shouldn’t have been opened in the first place, in my opinion,” said Resalyn Fazzare from Concord. 

Governor Gavin Newsom admitted Friday he failed to follow one of his own guidelines. Last week, he and his wife partied with friends from different households at the exclusive French Laundry restaurant. 

Health officials have been warning residents for weeks that social gatherings are fueling the coronavirus surge. 

“While our family followed the restaurant’s health protocols and took safety precautions, we should have modeled better behavior and not joined the dinner,” Newsom said.

“He needs to have a life too,” said Fazzare. “You know what I mean? He’s working so hard.”

Some business owners however, don’t agree.

“I don’t think he understands what’s happening to us during all of this. This has been the hardest year to endure ever,” said Geiser. “I don’t want to hurt anyone. We want to keep everyone safe. And we’ll follow the guidelines as best as possible.”

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