Businesses in Riverside, San Benardino counties expand capacity after entering orange tier

REDLANDS, Calif. (KABC) -- Riverside and San Bernardino counties on Wednesday officially moved into the less-restrictive orange tier in the state's reopening framework, which most notably will allow businesses to expand their capacity.

Under the orange tier, restaurants, movie theaters, churches, zoos and aquariums will be allowed to increase their capacity from 25% to 50%. Gyms would be able to expand to 25% capacity.

For many local businesses, the move brings welcomed relief but also some urgency to refill staffing lost to COVID-19 restrictions when many had to adopt a takeout only model.

"The hardest part is that when we had to let people go, they had to find jobs, and so now it's hard to get people back," said Kara Kidlay with Oscar's Mexican Restaurant in Redlands.

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Bars that don't serve food would finally get to open, while retailers like Mozart's no longer have to limit the number of customers inside.

"My hope is that we get that human contact back that we've all been missing so much, which is what we are about. We are not an online store," said Dorothea Dinmore of Mozart's.

The move is based of meeting a statewide goal to administer four million COVID-19 vaccines in disadvantaged communities and the drop in new COVID-19 cases. But not everyone is comfortable with the lifting of restrictions.
"I'm very glad that they are opening up," said Jeannie Davis of Hemet. "I think they are going a little fast but I'd like to see a lot more people get their vaccines and be fully vaccinated."

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California will "fully reopen" its economy on June 15 if current trends hold.

These changes also come as Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a plan to fully reopen California's economy on June 15 if current trends hold.

The announcement means California will move away from its color-coded tier system that regulates closures and openings county-by-county. The whole state will enter into this phase at the same time.

Ventura County also moved to the orange tier on Wednesday.

City News Service contributed to this report.
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