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Morning Lookout: The mask ask, eateries in peril, Bezos dips toes into space

Good Morning, Santa Cruzans!

As the marine layer burns off, it’s going to be mostly sunny today with a high of around 76 downtown — pretty darn perfect.

Meanwhile, while we escaped any fire/weather-related activity this week, way up in Plumas County late yesterday, this impressive act of weather and flames was being generated by the Dixie Fire.

And in other atmospheric news, out in Texas this morning, Jeff Bezos was busy sending himself on a quickie tour into space. More on that and to today’s other headlines we go...

Our favorite restaurants need us more than ever

Damani Thomas will keep fighting to keep his restaurant alive.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

‘Stressed out’: A month after California’s grand June 15 re-opening, help wanted signs seemingly outnumber available workers. Local businesses continue to see a surge of patrons, yet with the workforce missing in action — either still collecting unemployment or having moved on — owners are left scrambling, many forced to reduce their hours of operation. Many owners, like Oswald’s Damani Thomas (above), are getting by working a lot of 16-hour days. But is it sustainable? Our Neil Strebig explores that here.

What will the new masking guidance mean?

Jade Fountaine, a bartender at Paradise Beach Grill in Capitola Village, holds up a drink.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

The ‘new’ new guidance, we should say: Speaking of business owners and workers being thrown yet another curve, this news came down Monday: With COVID-19 cases rising in Santa Cruz County, as they are statewide and nationally, the county’s top health officials joined neighboring counties in asking residents to return to wearing masks in indoor public spaces regardless of vaccination status. How people will react, whether businesses will try to enforce it, stay tuned.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this latest development in pandemic life. Hit reply and share your insights.

So the space tourism era dawns

Jeff Bezos did what he set out to do Tuesday morning.
(Via Blue Origin)

Bezos launches on Blue Origin’s New Shepard and lands back on Earth: After years of planning, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos achieved his dream of flying to the edge of space. His company, Blue Origin, says it’s now open for space tourism. More from the LA Times about that there.

After coyote charges at children in San Francisco park, animal is killed

A coyote
(Via Pixabay)

‘Too close for comfort’: The coyote had aggressively approached toddlers in the San Francisco Botanical Gardens on five separate occasions. One official attributed the coyote’s actions to people repeatedly feeding it, leading the animal to lose “not just fear, but all sense of caution.” More from the Times.

Centered on creating beautiful, meaningful experiences out of flea market finds, Lori Powell’s thriving Santa Cruz...

Debating the ‘Pandemic Games’


How COVID-19 is transforming the Tokyo Olympics even before they start: The IOC’s decision to hold the Tokyo Olympics amid an ongoing pandemic in Japan has presented a plethora challenges — and positive tests for athletes before the Games have even begun. The Times’ David Wharton digs in from Tokyo here.

Thieves are stealing California’s scarce water — for illegal weed

Aerial photo of an illegal marijuana cultivation

Illegal marijuana farms: As drought grips most of California, water thefts have increased to record levels. Thieves tap into hydrants, pump water from rivers and break into remote water stations and tanks. CalMatters has the story here.

Around the county...

Lifelong local educator becomes PV High principal (Pajaronian)

Made in Santa Cruz celebrates more than quarter century on Wharf (Sentinel)

Watsonville celebrates completion of Rail Trail portion (Pajaronian)

Defendent takes stand in Aptos murder trial (Sentinel)

That’s it for today. If you’re enjoying our coverage, please tell your family and friends about our Lookout Newsletter & Text Center, where they can sign up for all the newsletters and alerts we offer. You can also keep tabs on everything we’re publishing through the day by bookmarking our website and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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See you all tomorrow!

Mark Conley