What the move to the orange tier will mean for some SLO County businesses

cracked cra.PNG
Posted at 10:47 PM, Apr 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 02:11:56-04

San Luis Obispo County has the green light to go orange.

County health officials say the COVID-19 case rate dropped enough to move into a less restrictive tier.

Click here to see what business activities are now allowed under the orange tier.

While this is exciting for some business owners, others are concerned there might not be the staffing yet to accommodate all the new customers.

Moving into a less restrictive COVID-19 tier is something Central Coast Party Helpers CEO Brigitte Faulkner has been looking forward to for months.

"These brides have been waiting for a year to get down the aisle — and that's what we're here help them do; get them down the aisle, let everyone have a good time, and enjoy this wonderful opportunity to be together again," Faulkner said.

San Luis Obispo County moving into the orange tier means for outdoor events, 300 people are allowed to attend if guests show a negative COVID-19 test or are fully vaccinated.

Indoor events allow for 150 people with the same regulations.

Faulkner says there's already a waiting list for certain dates.

"We're getting slammed — we're totally booked every weekend now going into 2022," she said.

For restaurants, indoor capacity has now been increased to 50%.

"We're very happy. It obviously shows that things are working and things are getting better so that's a positive sign too," Jamie Habig, General Manager of the Cracked Crab, said.

Tre Fiamme in San Luis Obispo opened in the middle of the pandemic, so this change will allow for more guests than they have hosted before.

"Our restaurant is large so 50% is as good as 25 because, for us, it's important that people feel safe to come out - period," Chef and Owner of Tre Fiamme, Donato Ricci, said.

Many businesses are now facing staffing issues, however, to accommodate all the returning customers.

"A lot of individuals don't feel safe to go back to work yet so it's taking a hard turn for us," Ricci said.

"My vendors are calling me and my food trucks are calling me saying: 'Hey we need staff, we need staff' and I say 'okay' and I try to navigate the best I can. My super-duper hardworking people maybe do the job of two people," Faulkner said.

Business owners are asking for people to have patience as things return to normal.

The new change goes into effect Wednesday at 8 a.m.

The metrics just last week would have kept the county in the red tier. San Luis Obispo County Health Officer Dr. Penny Borenstein says she had to request the state to review some data discrepancies and include some of Cal Poly's tests in the county's overall testing volume.