PLACERVILLE (CBS13) — El Dorado County is one of the first in the state with permission to reopen faster.
People can now eat at restaurants and shop at the mall, with safety precautions in place. The state’s blessing was given Tuesday afternoon and many businesses still need time to adjust.
Some people feel like a long “time out” is finally over.
“I feel amazing. I feel free. It does feel good to have a sense of community,” said Brandie Miller, who was having a socially distant drink in El Dorado Hills Tuesday.
Restaurant owners hope that sentiment will bring in the people and much-needed cash.
“Everybody’s been waiting for this six-seven weeks so it’s a blessing. Today is a great day to celebrate,” said Ben Butler, who owns Bene’s in Placerville.
It was a quiet start on main street through Placerville Tuesday, with restaurants focused on preparing for the weekend ahead.
Butler said he still needs a few days to be ready to open. Restaurants have to meet several safety guidelines, such as “sanitizing stations and six-foot distancing,” Butler said. And no one is allowed to sit at the bar.
Across the street from Bene’s, Placerville Public House is moving slower and won’t open until June.
“We’re always unsure about the reopening. We might start for a few days and test the waters, limited hours and limited days and see how it goes,” said owner Al Griffin.
Placerville Public House has both a bar and dine-in food. COVID-19 rushed Griffin into making renovations and making use of lost time. He’s trying to make more space and is even adding another bathroom. But in the end, he doesn’t know what to expect.
“It’s all about what people are going to be comfortable with. Are people going to be comfortable sitting next to people and are people going to be comfortable coming in here and sitting down?” Griffin said.
El Dorado County was allowed to do reopen more quickly because it achieved health criteria, like having enough hospital space and testing capacity.
Schools are allowed to open too, but superintendents are still trying to figure out how to do that safely.