KINGS COUNTY, California. (KSEE) – Kings County businesses will be able to allow more customers indoors now that the county has met California’s metrics for the orange tier.
One of the biggest changes with the move from the red to the orange tier is instead of only allowing 25% indoor capacity, restaurants can now seat 50% of their tables.
While restaurant owners say this will help, they also say there are still obstacles they have to overcome.
“It is hard for me, but we work,” said Zaytoona owner Mahd Salah.
Salah opened his Mediterranean restaurant in Hanford the first week of April, just two weeks into the stay-at-home order.
Over the last year, most of his tables have been bare because of COVID-19 restrictions.
“Because it is a new restaurant, we need at least 50%,” explained Salah.
The state is loosening restrictions now that case rates have dropped in Kings County.
Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon says that although the move into the orange tier may be exciting, people still need to be careful while out in public.
“The community is ready to get back to life as we know it, but we need to be very careful the virus is still out there. We need to be cautious,” said Verboon.
In the orange tier, the state allows restaurants, places of worship, and theaters to open for 50% indoor capacity.
Gyms, wineries, breweries, and distilleries can open indoors at 25%.
Hanford Chamber CEO Amory Marple says this is huge for the businesses hanging on by a thread.
“The ones that made it through it is a good feeling to hear that they can now hire more staff, sell more tickets. So overall, it is just amazing,” said Marple.
The problem? Some places, like Zaytoona, have been left without a full staff during the pandemic.
“I need about 15 to 13, but I know right now, I have like seven, eight, nine,” said Salah.
Salah believes high unemployment checks are the reason for the shortage.
“At home they get $300, $400 a week. They don’t need to work,” Salah explained.