SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - At 8 a.m. Wednesday morning Santa Barbara County moved into the ‘Orange Tier’ of COVID-19 reopening. The county’s COVID-19 case rate and positivity rate dropped low enough to enable the greater opening.
In the ‘Orange Tier’ more indoor spaces and capacity can be used. See what's open under each tier.
Taqueria owners on Milpas Street in Santa Barbara's Eastside are happy that more people can come inside to eat. They said customers tend to order more when they dine in.
Alberto Gonzalez owns Los Altos restaurant. He said, "I can probably make more money. At the start of COVID all the losses. For a full year, every week loss, loss, lost money."
Jasmin Flores owns Taqueria El Buen Gusto. She added, "You can see more people walking around they feel more comfortable now with the vaccines. They feel more comfortable eating inside and it's helping us out a lot."
Some customers like Juan Aquino and his family are happy to see the expanded capacity. But they're not ready to visit a jam-packed restaurant quite yet.
"Half is perfect," said Aquino. "Slow we need to take time that's all."
At Los Altos restaurant the Gonzalez is taking a cautious, safety-first approach. He plans to keep requiring masks regardless of any guidance changes at the state level.
"You know after they say, oh I've 100% had the vaccine, they have to wait," said Gonzalez. "Because you know this is really dangerous."
The owner of Taqueria el Buen Gusto hopes Santa Barbara County stays on this downward COVID-19 trend and that business is good enough to allow her to hire more workers this summer.
"That we're going back to normal, yes," said Flores. "I'm glad for that. Hopefully by this summer, everything is more clear and people are more comfortable to do everything."
Santa Barbara County Public Health officials said the best way for the county to continue further reopening is to continue to wear masks in public and get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.