Coronavirus: Sonoma County businesses reopen for curbside pickup after weeks of closure

SANTA ROSA, Calif. (KGO) -- On the first day Sonoma County retailers could reopen for curbside service, a quick drive through downtown Santa Rosa - the county seat - showed only a handful were taking advantage.

"If I can just get your signature there please. Thank you very much." That's manager Randall Bonacorso checking out a customer outside the Citrus Vape Store - open for the first time since mid March.

A folding table blocks the door, with tape on it marking just how far customers can reach to receive an item. There's tape on the ground so that people know to keep the proper six feet of social distance. Bonacorso estimates the shutdown cut into revenues by up to forty percent, and only online sales allowed them to squeak by.

"When this all started I really feared that I would have to let a lot of people go and I didn't want to do that," he said.

After Governor Newsom eased restrictions on some local retailers, Sonoma County notified local merchants.

RELATED: California moving into Phase 2 reopening: Here's what that means for CA businesses

"Businesses that would be included are something like bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores for example," according to Rohish Lal of the county health department. Barbershops, salons and similar businesses are still not cleared to reopen.

Timothy Patrick Jewelers was one of the stores offering a sort of walk up window service. Customers Chris and Diane Garrett came to check on a Mother's Day necklace they ordered weeks ago and to see what else was open.

"I haven't been down here in weeks so I'm happy some of them are open. I'm glad some of them are not like beauty salons and my favorite aesthetician around the corner," said Diane Garrett.

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Store owner Tim Hassler is also a manufacturer and the shutdown gave him time to catch up on a big backlog, but nothing in the way of income.

"The money isn't real good but the hours are okay," he says.

Many downtown businesses are choosing to pass up the limited reopening, for now. But the county health departments' Rohish Lal says they will keep an eye on those that are working.

"If we do have to put restrictions back in place, we'll be able to do that pretty quickly," he says.

The sheriff's office says it will continue to investigate when deputies receive reports that ineligible businesses are back in operation.

RELATED: Phase 3: Gov. Newsom teases next stage of reopening California businesses is closer than we thought

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