VENTURA, Calif. -- On Wednesday Ventura County entered the less-restrictive Red Tier of the state's reopening plan. Many people hit downtown Ventura to take advantage of the new changes.
“We were all so excited and our staff was excited,” said Morgan Dietrich, assistant general manager at Finney’s Crafthouse in Downtown Ventura. “We are just ready to go.”
Finney’s is one of many businesses that have been waiting for the county to enter the less restrictive red tier.
“It will help us by generating more sales,” said Dietrich. “We have been doing pretty well because we do have a lot of tables outside.”
The move became official on Wednesday allowing restaurants to open indoors at 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. It's a big relief for many restaurant owners who struggled to stay open over the past year. One reason many are still open is the Great Plates Program, put on by the County and World Central Kitchen.
“We have served over 50,000 meals to date from the beginning of the year with the Great Plates Delivery program and we have been able to use over 100 restaurants throughout the county,” said Jason Collis, who is the founder of World Central Kitchen.
“We would not be here today without the support of our community and without the support to work with World Kitchen and the Great Plates Program,” said Shanon Rice, owner of Peirano’s in Downtown Ventura. “We opened right before COVID hit and as a new business in the industry we struggled to make it work.”
As the community enjoys day one with fewer rules, county leaders say the next less-restrictive 'Orange Tier' is already in sight.
“We want to be ready three weeks from today exactly to enter into the new tier and the great news for Ventura County residents is that two of the three metrics are already in the Orange Tier and those are for the test positivity rates,” said Ventura County Public Health Director Rigo Vargas.
“We just hope everyone does their part and wearing mask, and social distancing,” said Dietrich. “We just have to rely on the public to do their job.”
For a breakdown of the latest coronavirus cases in Ventura County, click here.