San Luis Obispo Co. planning for a phased approach to re-open the economy

Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 21, 2020

With a low number of cases and sufficient testing capabilities in place, San Luis Obispo County is looking at a phased approach to re-open businesses.

Governor Gavin Newsom outlined six critical indicators for modifying stay-at-home orders, including the ability for health care systems to handle surges and the capacity for businesses, schools, and child care facilities to support physical distancing -- all factors San Luis Obispo County believes they have in place.

"We have the components in place to really be turning the dialogue to this phased re-opening," said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer.

As county leaders work on a planned approach to re-open, restaurants like Novo are preparing for the chance to once again offer-in person dining. But this time, it won't look the same.

"It will just be more sparse table seating, both in and out, and then the servers will be wearing masks and gloves if that's what's required," said Robin Covey, Novo restaurant owner.

After nearly a month of only being open for takeout and delivery, the chance to have customers dine in not only gives restaurants the opportunity to get back to normal but to also start making more money.

"I think the volume will be much larger and the revenue will be much larger also than with takeout," Covey said.

As the restaurant industry looks forward to being able to set up their tables and chairs once again, the county announced Monday that several other services could resume immediately.

"We're happy to be back working, that's for sure," said Aaron Stallings, K-NINE Mobile Bath owner.

One of those industries includes pet groomers and local companies like K-NINE Mobile Bath are seeing the demand, but they've had to make some changes to get business going.

"A lot of people don't have money to spend, so we have to come in at a price point where people can afford it again, so maybe it's a little give and take," Stallings said.

Health officials expect the re-opening to be over a period of months, and they say they will keep a steady eye on the case count to determine if they need to step back and tighten restrictions.