Diners enjoy a toast on the newly reopened patio at Pleasure Pizza's Eastside Eatery
Diners enjoy a toast on the newly reopened patio at Pleasure Pizza’s Eastside Eatery Monday with server and manager Tessa Schaller.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)
Latest News

Purple tier party: One business opens outdoor dining immediately, others taking stock

Today’s lifting of the regional stay-at-home order brought Santa Cruz County businesses back into the purple tier — a status that now feels full of freedom for some, despite the many restrictions.

Outdoor dining, hair and nail salons, barber shops, and gyms had been completely closed since the Bay Area stay-at-home order was imposed on Dec. 17. The purple tier means they can re-open under certain restrictions. But winter weather, confusion over the regulations, and trying to re-open after a long closure are just some of the challenges they have to overcome.

Economy Watch

From keeping an eye on everything from businesses’ struggles to government finances, COVID Economy Watch is among eight Lookout initiatives documenting all aspects of the pandemic. For more, go to our COVID 2021 section, sign up for COVID Text Alerts and our COVID PM newsletter here, and leave feedback and ask questions at the end of this story.

Pleasure Pizza’s Eastside Eatery re-opened their patio on Monday as soon as they heard the news. They haven’t had many customers today though, which Tessa Schaller, a manager and server at the restaurant attributed partly to people not knowing the news yet, but mostly the windy weather.

“We’ve had several calls inquiring [whether we were open for dine-in],” Schaller said. “But people called to inquire the whole time we were shut down.”

Hundreds of millions of dollars flowed to Santa Cruz County companies during the first round of the Paycheck Protection...

Not every restaurant was able or willing to spring back into action as quickly. Oswald’s downtown said in an answering service that they are “not equipped for rainy weather at this point,” so they continue to offer take-out only until Feb. 10.

Gyms are now able to offer outdoor fitness classes, and Michael Harbison, the general manager at the Live Oak Toadal Fitness branch said it’s “more than likely” they would open that up soon. Harbison said he was “waiting to see what the county says, if it will be exactly the same as it was in the purple tier the last time.”

Hair and nail salons are another sector that has been hit hard. Kim Nguyen, the owner of Kim’s Salon on the Westside, said she was very excited to re-open. Until now there’s been “nothing to do but stay home and be lazy,” she said. She’s had lots of customers calling in, but she hasn’t been able to offer them anything.

Hula’s Island Grill has been a fixture in the community since 2006, but when the pandemic hit, they experienced...

Now, she’s planning to re-open Feb. 1 after she’s had a few days to clean up the salon and get ready.

Nguyen is so relieved to be open for business again, having endured a long year of changing restrictions and many openings and closings. “Next time I’m not going to close,” she said jokingly with a laugh.

Know of a story of someone surviving the pandemic? Share it here:

Stay connected & support local journalism
We’re all about Santa Cruz County, from north to south and in-between. Members have unlimited access to our 24/7 local news coverage.