The Great Santa Cruz Reopening: Business owners welcome new reality — even if that’s still being figured out

People drinking
Mission West owner Max Turigliatto plans to open the Alley Oop in the now-closed Poet & Patriot Irish Pub in downtown Santa Cruz.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

What to make of June 15th? That was our goal on Tuesday as we dispatched our entire editorial staff in different directions around the county. What we came back with was a hodgepodge of differing, developing, still-in-the-works ideologies about what to do going forward as a post-pandemic society.

Many places in Santa Cruz County were bustling bright and early Tuesday morning. In other places, it seemed like any other Tuesday in any other June.

Such were the findings of a far-and-wide, highly unscientific Lookout Santa Cruz investigation into the following query: Would June 15th be, like, an actual thing?

For the first time in more than a year, business owners faced no state-imposed pandemic restrictions.

But that didn’t mean they faced no dilemmas.

To mask or not to mask was still certainly a question. And everyone seemed to have a different answer on what to do.

Even patrons at places that had lifted their restrictions were staying largely masked, out of polite respect, confusion or some combination of the two.

But this much was clear on Tuesday: We had to start somewhere with this somewhat awkward launch back toward “normal.” And this was a start.

If you can’t see the map correctly, please click here.

Lookout Santa Cruz’s Neil Strebig, Nick Ibarra, Mallory Pickett, Patrick Riley, Will McCahill, Mark Conley and Tulsi Kamath contributed to this report.

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