Alameda Co. pauses reopening due to spike in COVID-19 cases, could force some businesses to close: 'I'm praying we can survive'

"I'm praying we can survive through next year."
OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- On Thursday, Alameda County health officials started putting the brakes on moving forward with reopening due to a rise in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. It could mean a step backwards from the state's current orange tier to the more restrictive red or even purple tiers.

"I'm praying we can survive through next year," said Diana Days.

Days is still serving her loyal customers outdoors at café Buenos Aries in Berkeley. Rain and cold weather is moving in, she'd like to seat everyone inside.

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"I was planning on going to buy a couple of tables, now we're in the second wave," said Days.

She is allowed to seat customers indoors at limited capacity but that could all change soon.

Alameda County Interim Health officer Dr. Nicholas Moss says COVID-19 case rates have doubled since early October.

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"We were down between 50-60 people hospitalized, now we're at 70 hospitalized with COVID," said Moss.

Moss expects those numbers to rise. It's one reason the county is pausing reopenings for now. It could force the closure of indoor dining if the state moves Alameda County from Orange tier to Red or even Purple in the next few weeks.

"The very first thing we would look at is where people are taking off mask and eating," Moss added.

Outdoor restaurant parklets may be the only option heading into the holidays but it's no time to let your COVID guard down.

"I think so many people have gone for so many months and nothing's happened to them, they're feeling invincible," said Oakland resident Dick Nishimoto.

Movie theaters are still operating at limited capacity but Oakland's Grand Lake Theater owner Allen Michaan won't re-open until it's safe.

"We all want go back to normal, I want to see crowds at my theater and restaurants, but at this point it's wait and see," said Michaan.

Health officials say help stop the spread. Social distance, wash and sanitize your hands, and keep wearing your mask.

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