'This means progress': Sonoma, Contra Costa counties move to less restrictive red tier

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- There's forward progress happening in the Bay Area as two remaining counties, Contra Costa and Sonoma, joined others in our region by moving into the red tier Sunday.

That means some businesses and activities are finally getting the green light to resume.

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Cocktails were being mixed at B&V Whiskey Bar on the Sonoma Town Square. A move to the red tier means customers can eat and drink inside at limited capacity.

"I am encouraged that people are getting vaccinated and people feel more confident eating out," said owner Carlo Cavallo.

The historic Sebastiani Theater is almost ready for its closeup after being closed one year. Theater manager Roger Rhoten will now be allowed start showing movies with a 25 percent capacity audience.

"Everyone has missed coming to the theater and movies on the big screen, so we're excited about that," said Rhoten.

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Now that California breweries and wineries no longer need to serve food to operate outdoors, crowds braved the cold and flocked to the waterside dining area at Faction in Alameda.

Sonoma County has faced some of the harshest restrictions in the state as COVID-19 case rates spiked, but those numbers are improving.

"This means progress, it's been a year. This county has never been out of the purple tier, basically we've been hammered," said Sonoma County Supervisor James Gore.

Breakfast was being served inside the Copper Skillet Courtyard Restaurant in Martinez, not having to sit outside in the cold meant everything Cheryl Oliveri.

"It's like filet mignon versus hamburger, it's our grand-baby's first visit to the restaurant. It's nice to be inside versus outside," said Oliveri.

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Owner Jay Ebrahini is encouraged to his see loyal customers returning.

"Business is better than outside, so it's beneficial. More tables inside so all this is a plus for us," said Ebrahini.

Contra Costa County is also moving to the red tier. officials say coronavirus cases have slowed and vaccine doses have reached 400,000 arms.

For many, it's a small step forward, back toward the life we knew.

"So obviously we need to wear a mask and space six feet apart, but I think people need to go back to what's normal today," said Richard Fields from Oakland.

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