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More indoor operations allowed as San Luis Obispo County moves into lower COVID-19 tier

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Posted at 12:12 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-23 01:43:21-04

UPDATE (10:43 p.m.) -- More San Luis Obispo County businesses are able to open indoors.

This comes as the region has met state criteria for two weeks.

SLO County is in the red tier which is tier two out of four. This means a variety of businesses can open inside but with modifications in place.

“Basically, I jumped up and down,” John Roush, Owner of Park Cinemas, said. “We're in our 7th month of vacation, as I call it.”

They’ve been closed for more than half the year, only being open just a few days in July.

“We got an EIDL loan. We thought we had enough to get through but we didn't and requested more and they wouldn't give it to us so we've been without cash, without an income,” Roush said.

They’ve created a GoFundMe to stay afloat since they were unable to pay for August and September rent. They’ve also been selling popcorn and gift cards along with other promos.

“It’s been trying, I'll say,” Roush said.

But now that San Luis Obispo is in the next COVID-19 tier, they can reopen at 25% capacity which they’ll do on October 9.

Meantime, personal care services like nail salons and tattoo shops can now open with modifications.

Also, places of worship at 25% capacity. Gyms and fitness centers at 10% capacity. And restaurants at 25% capacity.

“It was surprising for sure because we've all been waiting patiently to hear it,” Tony Bennett, Owner of The Alchemists’ Garden, said.

The Downtown Paso Robles business opened for the first time ever in July.

“So we don't know really what to fully expect for the inside and outside dining so our biggest concern I think, is tackling that appropriately, having a plan of attack ready to go and I think by the weekend we could be ready to,” Bennett said.

As businesses transition to the new restrictions, Roush is encouraging people to support local.

“We need everyone's support when we get going here,” Roush said.

The county warns that a spike in COVID-19 cases could put the county back into the most restrictive tier.

The region must says in the red tier for two weeks before schools can reopen with safety measures in place per the state guidance for schools.

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ORIGINAL STORY: San Luis Obispo County has been given the green light to move into the next COVID-19 tier.

The announcement Tuesday means some indoor operations are now allowed with modifications for places like restaurants, gyms, movie theatres and places of worship.

In order to move into the State’s red tier, which downgrades counties from widespread risk to substantial, San Luis Obispo County had to meet a lower case and positivity rate criteria for two weeks.

While the news is welcome to many, the county warns that a spike in COVID-19 cases could put the county back into the most restrictive tier.

“While we celebrate this small success, we must stay vigilant,” said San Luis Obispo County Public Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein. “Our progress depends on each person in SLO County. We need everyone to do their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community.”

She adds, “Outdoor operations remain the safest environment to slow the spread of COVID-19 and should be supported whenever feasible… If we see an increase in the spread of COVID-19 here, we will move back to purple and most indoor operations will close again very soon.”

People are still encouraged to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing recommendations, avoid large gatherings, stay home if sick, wash hands often and get tested for COVID-19 to limit the spread of the virus.

For more information on what operations are able to re-open in the red tier, click here.