Big changes are coming to Santa Clara County. Indoor dining and gatherings could be allowed next week, a move the county could have approved about a month ago but held off until now.
Restaurants on Santana Row were busy serving customers under new outdoor tents Monday but they’re also planning for next Tuesday when they expect to welcome diners back indoors.
“To hear that there is potential we could be in the orange by next week, it’s so exciting for us,” said Jill Egi, manager of LB Steak. “So exciting for our team.”
They hope people who prefer the steakhouse ambience will come back to enjoy it.
“I know that our guests are absolutely looking forward to having that little sense of normalcy again,” said Egi.
If COVID case rates hold, Santa Clara County will move into the less restrictive orange tier on the state’s reopening blueprint.
Restaurants, and other indoor gatherings, could have up to 25% of capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
Outdoor gatherings up to 200 people would be allowed too.
“It really means a lot for us too because that means we get to bring back more staff members,” said Egi.
Santa Clara County could’ve allowed indoor dining about a month ago, but chose to reopen slower – along with San Francisco.
"San Francisco is taking a similar approach where indoor dining and indoor gatherings for church and indoor movie theaters are also at a red tier level,” said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer.
Despite allowing indoor dining, some may choose to still eat outside.
“I’ll probably still want to eat outside just for protective reasons as well,” said Leydin Hernandez of San Jose. “Even if they’re still taking precautions inside, it still feels a little more safe for me to be outside.”
But at Pizza Antica, they’re excited people will still have an option as the weather cools down.
“So whoever’s comfortable being inside, come inside. And if you’re not comfortable with that we still have room inside,” said Juan Salgado.
Santa Clara County is expected to go into that orange tier next Tuesday, meaning there would be fewer than four daily COVID cases per 100,000 people, and the test positivity rate would be holding at less than 5%.