Business owners looking forward to SLO County's move into red tier

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Posted at 6:01 PM, Mar 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 01:48:28-05

COVID-19 restrictions are loosening for San Luis Obispo County.

The county's move to the red tier is effective on Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County still remains in the purple, the most restrictive tier, along with most of California.

The last time San Luis Obispo County was in the red tier was at the end of September. The county was in that tier for about seven weeks before going back to the most restrictive tier.

Paso Terra restaurant in the heart of downtown Paso Robles will be back to indoor dining at 25% capacity.

"We're hoping this time it's a go, go and that we will continue to move forward," said Cristina Averseng, owner of Paso Terra.

Averseng says they will continue to use their parklet along with the new inside seating.

"I'm really anxious, I think like all of us, to get back to normal. My girls that work for me now, my servers, they've never seen the restaurant when it was regular. That's how crazy it's been," Averseng said.

The red tier means more businesses can open indoors including movie theaters at 25% capacity.

Park Cinemas has been shut down for almost a year with brief re-openings in July and October.

"My entire life is in the theater business in San Luis Obispo County and I certainly want to make sure that we remain in the theater business," said John Roush, owner of Park Cinemas.

They created a GoFundMe which raised more than $18,000 to help pay the bills. But Roush says since the pandemic started, they've racked up $1 million in debt.

"We won't close down again," Roush explained. "I'm done. This either stays open or we stay open without permission. That's all there is to it. I can't do this anymore."

Park Cinemas will reopen March 12. The list of showings is still being nailed down.

In the meantime, they're planning to apply for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

Entering into the red tier also allows for middle and high schoolers to learn in-person. Most local districts will return in the middle of March.

Gyms and fitness centers can reopen indoors as well at 10% capacity and retail shops at 50% capacity under the red tier.

The new changes are bringing a glimmer of hope.

"So we will see and hopefully, we will be able to keep our numbers down and thus move into the orange," Averseng concluded.