South Bay businesses await guidance to reopen as county comes off watchlist


CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Even as San Diego County exited the state’s coronavirus watch list Tuesday, local businesses still are not able to open back up just yet.

According to the state, if the county can maintain a case count under 100 for every 100,000 residents for the next 14 days, local school districts then can consider reopening for in-person instruction. It would mark a significant step forward in the local response to the pandemic as campuses largely have been closed to students since mid-March amid a national outbreak.

But the state has yet to provide guidance for reopening certain businesses.

“It hasn’t really changed business-wise, but for the people it’s a step in the right direction,” Chula Vista Brewery owner Tim Parker said.

Parker said any advanced notice by state public health officials would be welcome “to give us time to prepare” to again host customers indoors.

“If I need to come back inside, that’s more people,” he said.

Alex McDaniel of Brew Bar next door said he, like countless other business owners, had to pivot during the pandemic including offering only takeout early in the shutdown until the county allowed them to set up a dining area outdoors.

“It felt like madness,” McDaniel said. “You know you’re searching through the madness for something to hold onto and for me it was making sure we didn’t close.”

Both Parker and McDaniel said they’re not preparing to fully reopen just yet. They said they will remain operating as they have until the state lifts restrictions.

“People know many businesses are open and they’ve just adapted the way in which they’re doing business then really we’re OK to weather the storm until it truly is safe to reopen,” McDaniel said.

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