Cautious excitement as Santa Clara County set to advance to orange tier of reopening

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Santa Clara County is expected to move from the state's red tier, to the less restrictive orange tier by Tuesday's tier-status update.

If all goes well, indoor dining and other indoor gatherings will be allowed with specific modifications amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The move will allow restaurants, worship services and movie theaters to move some operations indoors.

MAP: CA counties that can, can't reopen under new rules

For Randy Musterer, this means more room for Sushi Confidential customers.

"I anticipate that, especially in our locations, even when we do open up indoor dining in the next week or so, people will still want to sit outside," Musterer told ABC7 News. "So once the weather changes, that's when you're going to start seeing a lot more indoor dining and a lot more indoor dining requests."

Outdoor dining has allowed his staff to serve about 200 people at a time, across Musterer's 5,000-square-foot patio in Downtown San Jose.

"Our inside dining is 3,000-square-feet," he continued. "So that's normally about 100 people. So that means an additional 25 people, we can have indoors."

RELATED: SF moves to 'orange tier,' indoor dining opening with restrictions
EMBED More News Videos

San Francisco announced the city is moving forward with opening more businesses, and that includes indoor dining. Movie theaters could be next.



As Musterer mentioned, the weather will also play a major role. Any potential bad weather is pushing him to prepare now.

"Looking on Amazon and any other websites, heaters are sold out everywhere. We're actually driving to Danville tomorrow," he shared. "We found a location that has 10 heaters. So we're buying 10 heaters tomorrow in preparation."

Under the county's revised order, restaurants may open for indoor services, up to 25% of capacity or 100 people. Whichever is fewer.

Key changes for the county also include outdoor gatherings of up to 200 people, and indoor gatherings of up to 25% of capacity or 100 people. Again, whichever is fewer.

RELATED: Justice Department calls on SF to open churches, claims current rule 'may violate First Amendment'

In a statement to ABC7 News, Bishop Oscar Cantu with the Diocese of San Jose said:
"I am thankful to God that the pandemic conditions have improved such that our parishes may soon be able to celebrate Masses inside our church buildings when Santa Clara County enters the Orange Tier (Tier 3). We must all remain vigilant against the coronavirus pandemic and practice all the safety precautions to which we've become accustomed for the sake of the most vulnerable among us. Our parishes will continue to abide by public health orders by following capacity restrictions and mandating robust cleaning protocols, social distancing, and facial coverings. To continue to protect the most vulnerable among us, the dispensation from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass is still in effect, and parishes will continue to live stream Masses. Let us continue to pray for all suffering from the pandemic and its aftermath."

Still, with the Revised Risk Reduction Order, the county published this reminder in a video uploaded to YouTube over the weekend: "The fact that an activity is allowed does not mean it's safe."

MORE: Stanford University doctor leads global health argument criticizing COVID-19 restrictions

Changes are dependent on case count and positivity rates remaining stable.

"The 25% isn't enough to get through the winter," Musterer shared. "When it's great weather, it's fine. We can have people outside and inside. But we really want the community to follow all the rules so we can get into the 50% or even 75% range."

Additionally, Musterer explained other measures restaurant owners will have to take.

"There's going to be a lot of signage, and a lot of new rules that we need to comply with," he shared. "We're going to have to collect peoples' names and phone numbers when they're sitting inside at a table. So, we just need to put a plan in place before we open up indoors."

For the county's latest Revised Risk Reduction Order, click here.

INTERACTIVE: Here's the reopening status of every Bay Area county
App users: For a better experience, click here to view the story in a new window

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 here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
Copyright © 2021 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.