Orange County restaurants resume indoor dining after moving up on state COVID tracking system

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- A day after Orange County restaurants got the green light to resume indoor dining, several of them opened their doors for guests.

That was made possible after the county moved up from the purple to the red tier of the state's coronavirus tracking system on Tuesday. Under that tier, the county can reopen movie theaters and restaurants for indoor dining at 25% capacity. Churches may also resume indoor worshipping services at 25% capacity.

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Orange County moved up from the purple to the red tier of the state's coronavirus tracking system on Tuesday after the county reported 113 new cases and no additional deaths the day before.

Watson's Soda Fountain & Cafe in Old Towne Orange had been operating outside for just under three months. On Wednesday however, the restaurant started serving guests in the dining room at 8 a.m.

The owner, Bill Skeffington, says he's excited to move part of the operation indoors, especially due to the recent heat and air quality

"We took about 25% of the tables and moved them back inside, spreading them out. The families that are together, we sit them together, if they're not we space them," he said.

With the excitement comes some worry that the case numbers might rise following the loosened restrictions and Labor Day weekend, which would mean another shutdown like they had to do earlier in the summer.

Still, the family-owned business feels confident enough to incorporate a coffee shop and bakery inside the restaurant, something they've been wanting to do since before the pandemic.

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Does the new color coded, 4-tier system for monitoring COVID-19 in California leave you scratching your head? ABC7 breaks down what each tier means.

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