SAN JOSE (KPIX) — After months trying to stop the spread of COVID-19, Santa Clara County is on the road to recovery with only 12 new cases countywide. Local business owners were preparing for the possibility of California reopening without restrictions in two weeks.
“You know June 15 is going to be one of these double fingers-crossed moments for the fitness industry,” said MX3 Fitness Co-Owner Dave Karraker. “The ability for people to get back indoors and not wear masks, it’s going to be one of the biggest moments we’ve had in a year and a half.”
If Gov. Gavin Newsom keeps his word, the state will get rid of its colored-tiers and allow businesses to reopen without restrictions on June 15.
Newsom tweeted on Memorial Day that 70 percent of Californians had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In Santa Clara County, public health officials touted last week that the county had a high — if not the highest — first dose vaccination numbers in the country when compared to other counties the same size.
As of Monday, the county public health department reported 76.2 percent of eligible residents have received the first dose, and 63.5 percent are fully vaccinated. The department also reported 12 new cases of COVID, and zero deaths.
“We’re reaching that herd immunity,” said Sushi Confidential owner Randy Musterer. “We’re going to be in this pandemic, as a business owner, whether there’s masks or not. We’re going to feel the pain for the next six months to potentially a couple of years.”
Musterer, who owns a restaurant in San Jose and Campbell, said he’s prepared for the county to keep some of its health mandates even after the state fully reopens.
He said he got the sense from health officials during a regular visit recently that the mask mandate may remain in effect for employees in certain industries.
“I think the county might actually say, ‘Okay, we can’t control the customers coming in anymore, they don’t have to wear a mask,’” Musterer said. “I could see that employees still might have to wear masks past June 15.”
Karraker said he hopes San Francisco county, however, follows the state when it reopens in two weeks and doesn’t continue imposing restrictions.
“I don’t think anything would surprise us right now if the county decides not to move with the state on June 15,” Karraker said. “But for the sake of small businesses, we really hope that they’re thinking about that, that they really take a hard look at it, because we’re suffering.”
Both Musterer and Karraker said despite a full reopening, they will continue some of the safety measures they adopted during the pandemic. For Karraker, he said that means keeping clients in zones and social distancing at least until the end of the year. Musterer said he hopes Campbell city leaders allow al fresco dining permanently.