reopening the bay area

Restaurants Expand Indoor Service in SF, Marin and Santa Clara Counties

Move to orange tier takes effect, also allowing gyms, museums and places of worship to increase capacities

NBC Universal, Inc.

There’s a new special on the menu for a lot of Bay Area restaurants: More dining indoors.

It’s the first day of orange tier restrictions for San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties, and that means fewer limits on capacities inside gyms, museums and restaurants.

Luna Mexican Kitchen is a cozy little restaurant on The Alameda in San Jose, so opening up at 50% capacity means only a few more tables inside. But, it’s still important for many other reasons.

During the pandemic, the restaurant went from 200 employees at its two restaurants in San Jose and Campbell to just about 10. Over the past year of the pandemic, the restaurants had to open and close a few times and bring employees back only to lay them off again.

But with the move into the orange tier, the second least restrictive, it feels like a taste of normalcy.

"This time we’re adding staff, and everybody’s really happy to be back, and we’re adding more people to our Luna family," Angelina Ramos said. "I think it’s really up from here. I feel like it’s the first really positive news, where we’re going to expand and not have to contract again."

The orange tier also means churches can invite more people inside for Easter services and a few weeks before Easter. Houses of worship can open at 50% capacity indoors.

Restrictions also are loosened for museums, zoos and gyms.

Four Bay Area counties are now in the orange tier, and two more are near: Alameda County could change tiers in about a week and Contra Costa County possibly in two weeks if new cases and hospitalizations hold steady in those areas.

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