Santa Clara Co. to suspend indoor dining, expects to move back into red tier on Tuesday

With rain and colder temperatures on the way, many restaurant owners throughout the region are trying to decide if it'll be worth it to operate outside.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- In the South Bay, there's more sobering news as COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are on the rise. Santa Clara County, which reported 362 new cases on Friday, is expected to move back into the red tier as soon as next Tuesday. As a result, indoor dining will be suspended on the same day.

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"It is absolutely imperative that we take action now, each and every one of us, in order to get through this," said Dr. Sara Cody, Santa Clara County health officer, who warned that the county might even move into the even more restrictive purple tier by the end of the month, if the current surge isn't quickly brought under control.

With rain and colder temperatures on the way, many restaurant owners throughout the region are trying to decide if it'll be worth it to operate outside. Randy Musterer, owner of Sushi Confidential in San Jose and Campbell, has been busy adding outdoor patio seating and heating in preparation for winter.

"We have three pergolas pushed together, they have rain gutters, so we have a nice warm environment now that's considering outdoor dining which will be safe for all of our customers and all of our employees," said Musterer.

At Santana Row, the Left Bank family of restaurants, which includes traditional sit-down favorite Meso Mediterranean, isn't just relying on in-person dining. To adapt, they're created virtual-only brands with special menus to attract customers for takeout.

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"People still want normalcy in their lives," said Serena Harkey, wine director for Vine Hospitality, which owns and operates the Left Bank restaurants in three Bay Area counties. "We found new ways to get our food into people's homes, and we want to continue to allow that dining experience to actually happen."

As part of the red tier, indoor fitness centers can only operate at 10% capacity. Wineries and cardrooms will have to head outside, and indoor family activities such as bowling allies will be shut down.

"We're going to need everybody's help," said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez. "These numbers are going in the wrong direction, and when I say numbers, I'm talking about people."

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