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Business owners wait for word on when they'll be able to reopen

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Posted at 6:00 PM, May 06, 2020

Local business owners are anxiously waiting to reopen.

But San Luis Obispo County's roadmap varies from the state's, so the county is in a holding pattern.

"It's definitely interesting seeing the amount of people that are, you know, reaching out to me asking when we're going to open up," said David Mendoza, owner of 13th Street Barber Shop in Paso Robles.

Mendoza closed his doors nearly two months ago and getting the green light to reopen has been a bit of a challenge.

"It's been kind of confusing, you know. We're hearing it on one hand the state and then our county so a lot of questions that need to be answered," he said.

This Friday, the state plans to enter Stage 2 and allow retail businesses to have modified openings with curbside pick-up and delivery only.

At this point, it's not clear if our county will be able to do anything beyond that without the "ok" from the governor.

"It's important to keep in mind that until we get the go-ahead in the form of a modified or lifted stay at home order, we can't implement any of our plan," said Dr. Aydin Nazmi, epidemiologist.

Mendoza's barber shop falls into Phase 1 of SLO County's START Guide. Right now, we're in pre-Phase 1.

Barbershops and salons are in Stage 3 of the governor's plans.

"We're just patiently waiting but at the same time we're also anxious to get back serving the community," Mendoza said.

As explained to South County Chamber of Commerce members on Wednesday, this is all a gradual process.

"We all have to be aware and on board with the fact that these mitigation strategies are going to be in our lives for many months to come still in an effort to prevent that second wave and that second spike of the virus taking hold again," Dr. Nazmi said.

With roughly 280,000 people in SLO County and 40,000,000 in the state, local leaders stress decisions are being based on data.

We'll get more details in the days to come with business owners ready to do what they're told next.

"It's a one-of-a-kind experience so it's kind of hard to really put it into words," Mendoza said.

To read the document outlining San Luis Obispo County's framework for phased reopening, click here.

The San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce will discuss the county's guide to reopening on Thursday on Zoom and Facebook Live from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.