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SLO County businesses preparing for possible move into Red Tier later this week

SLO County outside dining
Customers at Shell Beach Brewhouse dine outside in this undated file photo.(Dave Alley/KEYT)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- San Luis Obispo County businesses are preparing for a possible move into the Red Tier of the the state's Blueprint for a Safer Economy later this week.

Should the county advance, it would loosen several restrictions currently in place for a variety of business sectors.

While San Luis Obispo County is currently in the Purple Tier for adjusted case rate, two of other three metrics used as criteria to determine tier status, test positivity rate and health equity metric, are both measuring in the Orange Tier.

The county has been able to meet the two Orange Tier metrics for one week.

Should the numbers hold for a second straight week, San Luis Obispo County would be allowed to move ahead into the Red Tier as soon as Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The Red Tier will allow businesses to either open or reopen in limited capacities:

  • Retail may increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50%.
  • Shopping centers, malls, destination centers and swap meets can increase indoor capacity from 25% to 50% and operate reduced-capacity food courts.
  • Personal care services are allowed to open indoors.
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums are allowed to open indoors with maximum capacity of 25%.
  • Places of worship are allowed to open indoors with maximum capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Movie theaters are allowed to open indoors with maximum capacity of 25% of 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Hotels and lodging are allowed to open fitness centers at 10% maximum capacity.
  • Gyms and fitness centers can open indoors at 10% maximum capacity.
  • Restaurants can serve guests indoors with maximum capacity of 25% or 100 people, whichever is fewer.
  • Schools can reopen in person after two weeks of the county being in the red tier, according to state guidelines.

For businesses facing the prospect of reopening or increasing operations, a potential of moving into the red tier is exciting news.

"It certainly is going to help out tremendously," said Frank Schiro, a co-owner in several restaurants, including Rooster Creek Tavern, Mason Bar and Kitchen and Shell Beach Brewhouse. Having 25 percent inside becomes essentially a lifeboat. Our folks are looking forward to getting back inside our restaurant. As much as we've done our best with the outside, for us, and our staff, to be able to bring most of our staff back, that's great for us."

Schiro noted his restaurants are ready to welcome back customers inside the same day they receive the green light from county officials.

"We're ready to go," said Schiro. "Everybody is on call. We can get the floor set up in a very short amount of time. We're making sure that we enough food to handle the extra seats and we're ready, so we're just waiting for that call."

He added that indoor dining would also allow his restaurants to bring back nearly all of its staff, including those who have furloughed throughout the various closures.

"We are happy that they are back," said Schiro. "They're our family. They make this place and we're happy that the City of Arroyo Grande and city staff have been great to get us through to this point because it's been survival mode and we want to get back to normal, whatever normal is looking like. This is it. This is one step toward, whenever that is and wherever that is."

At the Dana Adobe Cultural Center in Nipomo, the popular historical site has been closed throughout the entire pandemic.

Now, it's looking at a potentially reopening in just a couple of weeks.

"I'm excited to hopefully move into the red tier and take baby steps towards getting everything open," said Lexi Carreno, Dana Adobe Cultural Center Executive Director. "We are building up our exhibit in our cultural center to hopefully open up by March 1st to let 25 percent come into this building and hopefully get some private tours in the adobe."

She added that preparations are well underway to make sure the site is ready to go.

"We started to hear about his last week, so we kind of went into frantic mode," said Carreno. "We are shining up the property as we speak and staff is doing everything that we can to plan for the future, so when we get the green light, every percentage that we move forward, that we're able to catch up with the times and follow through," said Carreno. "We're definitely working hard."

San Luis Obispo County was last in the Red Tier in November, before moving backwards into the Purple Tier following a surge after Halloween.

For additional COVID19 Information for San Luis Obispo County, visit

Article Topic Follows: Economy

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Dave Alley

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