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Santa Barbara County businesses react to new restrictions on "indoor activities"

Posted at 11:35 PM, Jul 01, 2020

Business owners in Santa Barbara County are grappling with new restrictions once again following Governor Newsom announcing a stop to some "indoor activities."

Santa Barbara County is one of 19 counties that now has to close: indoor restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters and zoos.

While switching to outdoor experiences is possible for some businesses, others say this is a big blow.

Trattoria Uliveto in Orcutt is now changing their seating plan to outdoor only following the new restrictions.

"We are proactive because we know you're gonna pick and choose your battle today. The battle for us is going to be how are we going to adapt today? Instead of getting anxiety or getting crazy, we just act," said Alfonso Curti, Owner of Trattoria Uliveto.

In a matter of hours, the restaurant moved the tables and chairs from inside to outside, purchasing new umbrellas with plans of adding heaters next.

"Even at a small capacity, we'll still be able to do some business, and hopefully people don't feel uncomfortable to be outside. We want to make sure they know it's a safe place to be," Curti said.

Curti says they are fortunate to be able to adapt using extra space, but others aren’t so lucky.

Riverbench Winery just reopened its tasting rooms less than a week ago and while the Santa Maria location has outdoor seating, the Santa Barbara location will have to close its doors again.

For CEO Laura Booras, the decision is a double edged sword.

"I'm somewhat relieved that while things are spiking, we're going to be able to have them not be so much on the front lines -- at least in our Santa Barbara location. The other part of me knows this second closure is devastating...almost worst than the first one to be totally honest because we've now invested in our people so we were ready to go," Booras said.

Booras says she hopes the community will still continue to support local wineries and businesses during this time.

"We're definitely battling a lot of things that never in a million years did I think we'd be battling, and it's really tough. We're so committed to our people, and we want to take care of them, but it gets harder and harder when we have no business," Booras said.

Santa Barbara County officials say they plan to implement these new restrictions for at least the next three weeks.

Brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs and lounges have to close all operations. The county says serving food is no longer an alternative provided as a means to remain open for the time being.