Sonoma County restaurants packed as other businesses still waiting to reopen

SONOMA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- As we continue to look for ways to Build a Better Bay Area in the times of the coronavirus, businesses are trying to figure out how to navigate an uncertain future and reopen the economy without putting people's health at risk.

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Sonoma County gave the OK for several businesses to reopen on Saturday, including indoor sales at retail shops, shopping centers, malls, religious services, places of worship, restaurants for seating indoors and outdoors, pubs and breweries, wineries and tasting rooms for indoor and outdoor sit down meals, hair salons, barbershops and coastal beaches.

Tuesday evening, downtown Petaluma was full of people who chose to eat out and walk around downtown.

"This is probably an environment which we're seeing more concern and more care than we've seen anywhere else," said Peter Agur. He and his, Vera, are visiting Sonoma County from Florida.

"We're looking forward to going up towards the redwoods and visiting some of the vineyards over the next couple of days, so we're excited to get out," said Agur.

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The situation is far from perfect for all businesses. Most are open, but not all.

"Lifting too many restrictions too soon could potentially lead to a large increase in cases," said Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase.

Most gyms, hotels, and campgrounds are still closed in Sonoma County, and while state restrictions could open them Friday, Dr. Mase says that will be delayed. Some people say they're OK with that.

"I feel like it make sense to keep the gyms closed because it's a place where you can come into contact with a lot of bodily fluids, with sweat, and stuff," said Jennifer Anna of Petaluma.

On the hotel front the situation is a confusing one. The Metro Hotel and Café is closed for business yet when we called Hotel Petaluma, they were open -- along with the Best Western Petaluma Inn, who never closed.

The open restaurants and shops have brought in a high number of people.

As to when businesses like gyms, campgrounds, and hotels could be officially reopening? It's hard to say. The health officer says she will look at this issue again in two weeks and at that time take a closer look at the new data to make a decision.

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