Coronavirus Impact: Churches, restaurants in San Jose prepare for indoor operation

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Big changes are on the way for churches and restaurants in the South Bay amid the coronavirus pandemic. The newly-revised risk reduction order in Santa Clara County will allow places of worship and restaurants to operate inside at 25% capacity as early as next week.

Bishop Oscar Cantu of the Archdiocese of San Jose is welcoming the decision of Santa Clara County leaders to allow indoor worship at 25% capacity, or fewer than 100 people, next week if COVID-19 data continues to trend in the right direction.

RELATED: Popular San Jose dining program expands to 6-weeks during COVID-19 pandemic
"Right now we want to take this one step at a time," said Bishop Cantu. "We're delighted to go indoors, especially as weather changes."

The bishop said services will operate much differently from the last time parishioners celebrated mass indoors.

The biggest changes include: masks worn by all, social distancing amongst the congregation (with the exception of families allowed to sit together), and communion will be received in the hand -- not the mouth.

He also said only the body of Christ (bread) will be provided, not the blood (wine).

He will also require all priests to continue holding at least one mass outdoors for those worshippers uncomfortable celebrating mass inside of the church before a vaccine is widely distributed.

INTERACTIVE: Here's the reopening status of every Bay Area county
Flames restaurant in San Jose is preparing to welcome customers inside of its restaurant for the first time since March.

"More people (means) more tips," said David Huerta, a server at Flames.

With a max capacity of 400 people for the main restaurant space and another 240 people allowed in the venue's banquet hall, the owner is hoping to fit up to 100 people, per county guidelines, in the spacious downtown restaurant.

"It's a good thing they allow us to do this because rain is coming and how are we gonna be able to open outside?" said Huerta, "All the businesses - we've been struggling right now."

He said the return of some San Jose State students to campus allowed the restaurant to survive with only patio seating, but it was tough to stay afloat last month when wildfire smoke removed outdoor seating from the mix.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the graph in a new window.

See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.
Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic hereRELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.