Since midnight Sunday, every Bay Area county is now in the red tier of reopening. As parts of the Bay Area begin to reopen, there are concerns that too many people will let their guards down and another COVID-19 surge will force shutdowns once again.
The surge is already happening in Italy and health experts say it could happen here if people are not careful. One year into the global pandemic, it was still anything but a normal Saturday night at San Jose’s 4th Street Pizza Company.
“Hopefully, as soon as possible, we can get opened back up as close to full capacity as possible,” said Josh McGhi, Co-Owner of 4th Street Pizza Company.
At this time of year, McGhi said his bar should be packed with basketball fans and the restaurant with pizza lovers. Instead, his staff is still a tenth of what it was pre-pandemic with just five workers.
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The atmosphere at San Jose’s San Pedro Square was buzzing Saturday night. “Woo-hoo, we can at least eat outside and get some fresh air,” said San Jose resident Nicole Gordon.
Gordon and her family told NBC Bay Area that they are excited to get outside but like many, they are still cautious. “I think we might want to adhere to the mask situation a little bit longer,” Gordon added.
Iman Abuzeid, the CEO of San Francisco-based company Incredible Health, which helps hospitals quickly staff medical position said there’s an 8% increase in nurse turnover since the pandemic began. “They were really on the front lines and they really were facing the brunt of this pandemic,” she said.
Abuzeid like other medical professionals worry nurse stress levels could shoot rise again if what’s happening in Italy right now could happen in the Bay Area. Vast regions of Italy are going back into lockdowns because case spikes following reopening.
Everyone from medical experts to business owners and moms are hoping they will keep their guard up as many places reopen. “Which includes following community guidelines, so they don’t get sick either, would be very beneficial,” Abuzeid said.
In the meantime, Gordon and her family want to set a great example of how to help stop the spread of the virus, while helping get businesses going again at full capacity in the process.
“We’ve been double-masking for at least that last three or four months, especially when the new strains started being introduced,” she said.