Sonoma County braces for renewed coronavirus shut-downs after being added to state watch list

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Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Having re-opened once, the coronavirus numbers are pushing Sonoma County back toward shut-down mode. Officials say the announcement could come as early as Monday.

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- From Sonoma County, Friday, came a warning that the State of California has placed them on the COVID-19 monitoring list.

It signals a 44-percent rise in cases, and a looming shortage of intensive care beds.

RELATED: Sonoma County allows gyms, hotels, campgrounds, zoos to reopen

For residents, it means a likely shut-down, and a tough time for local businesses.

By now you have read about, heard, and lived this narrative. Having re-opened once, the coronavirus numbers are pushing Sonoma County and places like Petaluma, back toward shut-down mode.

"Who do I blame for the numbers? It's an act of God," said Marie O'Neill of Santa Rosa as she enjoyed lunch along the Petaluma River.

It will also be an act by state and local government like the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors.

RELATED: Sonoma County restaurants packed as other businesses still waiting to reopen

"We are not announcing closures today or tomorrow but potentially as early as Monday," Board Chair Susan Gorin told ABC7 News.

It means that this could be a last-gasp weekend for indoor bars, tasting rooms, and restaurants like Cucina Paradiso, with a few tables for outside dining, and where inside, owner Dennis Hernandez went from thirty tables to nine.

"It is hard to go to sleep at night, then wake up, and go to work. You don't know what is going to happen," Hernandez said.

Petaluma does have memories of the last shut-down.

Judith Helman closed her antique collective from March 18th through Mothers Day.

RELATED: Sonoma County church holds 1st mass after update to COVID-19 health order

"When we closed there were no cars downtown," she said. "I remember growing up when my mother told about how communities would close because of illnesses like whooping cough. Now we're living it."

Petaluma still has a small-town feel. Small restaurants like Sax's joint are part of the lifestyle and lexicon.

It is famous for large portions and small indoor spaces. Tiffany Meyers owns the place with her mother and sister. We asked her about sleeping, too.

"Am I sleeping at night? No."

Not with seven employees facing reduced hours, at best.

They include Maddie McNulty, who lives right across the street. "Gotta' do what you gotta' do to stay safe."

Isn't that the sum of it? We adapt, adjust, and now we're about to do so again because we have no choice. It's a matter of finding that balance between health and financial prosperity.

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