Coronavirus impact: cities grow back after Alameda County suspends outdoor dining under new California guidelines


ALAMEDA COUNTY, California (KGO) – In East Bay, this is a big step backwards for plans to reopen in Alameda County. State councils force the county to immediately shut down outdoor restaurants – but not everyone is willing to comply.Octavio Guzman owns La Penca Azul in Alameda. He says keeping his restaurant afloat has not been easy, especially in Alameda County, where outdoor dining is now suspended, suspended less than a month after it reopens.”It’s very confusing, things change overnight,” said Guzman. Outdoor dining was allowed under Alameda County health guidelines, but the county announced the tightening restrictions State Friday evening. Restaurants, wineries, and bars can only offer driving, pickup, or delivery under government control.

Under the county’s reopening plan, outdoor dining, as well as retail businesses and summer schools, were allowed to reopen on June 29.

State guidelines prohibit outdoor dining in the no-gap counties, which include Alameda County.

Outdoor dining was still going on at Ole’s Waffle store in Alameda, but Robin Wright and his friends who work in the food service were not satisfied.

“If we cut outdoor dining, the waiters and bartenders may have to go back and try to depend on the government for unemployment,” said Wright.

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Ken Monize had just opened his outdoor patio but is now removing most of the tables.

“It’s absolute chaos, I’m not sure what we’re going to do, but I can tell you that our leadership here is incompetent,” said Monize.

Ken Monize is thinking of his next move, possibly out of the county. “I can move, I can run for mayor, but we need a change,” said Monize.

WATCH: Alameda Restaurant Owners Express Frustration After Suspension of Outdoor Meals

Other cities choose to defy order.

The City of Hayward issued this statement: “The City of Hayward intends to carry out the street closure event as planned and will support local restaurants that choose to participate, either by providing a service of outdoor dining or simply a take-out service. ”

Livermore and Dublin will also not cut outdoor dining.

Some city leaders like John Marchand, mayor of Livermore, say it is not a legal order and are closing the streets to allow outdoor dining.

“To get a press release, not a formal order, but a Friday night press release is really inconsistent and very unfair to companies that have really made a significant investment,” said Marchand.

“We had planned to close First Street, we are not going to change these plans because these plans, if I understand correctly, are still in accordance with existing legal orders,” added Marchand.

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Sapporo Japanese Cuisine is a family business in Livermore and the event planned to close the streets allows them to set tables for their customers.

Nicholas Yoo, the manager, said customers called them and sent them confused messages about whether they were open for outdoor dining or not.

“Quite last minute, very disorganized, and it caused a lot of confusion,” said Yoo.

Yoo said three members of the city council went there to personally show their support.

“Mark Salinas came along with other members of the city and they put down different gifts and just gave us verbal support. It was great to see this little statement from the board members themselves and they physically walked in and they walked by and gave their personal support, “said Yoo.

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At the corner of Street B, owner Michale LeBlanc of Playt Restaurant and Bar said he was so confused that he didn’t even know if it would open even after weeks of planning.

“I didn’t know if I was going to open today, maybe 30 to 40 minutes early,” said LeBlanc.

He brought in staff and bought additional food.

“We bought food, we bought additional food. I changed the menu a bit. I have umbrellas, I have umbrella stands, I have trash cans, I have plates, ”said LeBlanc.

LeBlanc said he was not upset because the riding and everyone else was just looking for everyone’s health, but he wanted better communication.

“I hope the city, the state, the county – they will all come together based on what happened this weekend and we have clear guidelines as we approach the next weekend,” said said LeBlanc.

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An Alameda county spokesman said in a statement on Saturday:

“We are moving towards obtaining a waiver from the state and a letter of support for a waiver is on the agenda for the meeting of supervisors next Tuesday. ”

As of Saturday afternoon, Alameda County had 7,725 positive cases of COVID-19, the highest number of all counties in the Bay Area.

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