Coronavirus: South Bay essential businesses adapt to latest social distancing, safety measures

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- With the Bay Area shelter-in-place extended until the beginning of May, essential businesses are now required to outline the steps they're taking to keep employees and customers safe from the novel coronavirus

Many places had already taken steps to help reduce the spread, but the order now clearly defines what they must do in order to keep their doors open.

Businesses like grocery stores and restaurants have become one of the few places where people can connect and converse with others outside of their homes.

"We're doing what we need to do to make sure that everyone stays safe that comes into our store," said Zanotto's Sunnyvale assistant manager Danine Samide.

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Much of the conversation now surrounds the measures being implemented throughout the Bay Area, including requiring establishments to post signs at each public entrance to remind people to stay away if they're sick and to maintain at least a six-foot distance from each other.

Hand sanitizer must also be provided to customers.

At Zanotto's Market in Sunnyvale, their social distancing protocol has included the installation of custom-made Plexiglas safety guards to protect employees.

"We started producing these shields because we just saw an immediate need," said David Payne, president of Image Options, a San Jose company that helped Zanotto's with the design and installation. "As entrepreneurs and innovators, we just want to jump in and do what we can, as quickly as we can, and make things happen."

Social distancing measures have already been put into effect at La Fiesta, one of Mountain View's most popular restaurants, which has included limiting the number of customers inside at any given time.

They've also increased cleaning and sanitation measures and have marked the floor to remind guests how far apart they need to stand while waiting for orders.

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"They're patient with us," said Viari Lopez, La Fiesta business development manager. "I remember the first week we had to do only takeout, things got a little bit backed up."

But the team at La Fiesta, which has been in operation since 1977, now says it has the process down to a science.

"As far as sales, we're not doing as much as we usually do, but I'll take whatever I can get," said La Fiesta general manager Lucy Garcia. "I'm very grateful for all of my customers that are supporting us."

Customers throughout the South Bay are quick to express their appreciation for those working on the front lines.

"Every time you go out it's a little bit difference," said Sunnyvale resident Jodi Marvet. "We may see some social norms change when we get on the other side of all this."

Essential businesses must prepare, post and implement social distancing protocols specific to their location by the end of the week to remain open.
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