Contra Costa County among 11 California counties pushed back to red tier

Contra Costa County is one of 11 counties in California that was pushed back into a more restrictive tier Tuesday, due to a spike in coronavirus cases or a failure to meet the expected benchmarks for hospitalizations and testing.

The Contra Costa County health officer Dr. Chris Farnitano says the new restrictions will take effect Friday.  Last week, in anticipation of the change, stricter capacity limits were put in place for indoor dining, worship services and movie theaters.

"We're seeing cases connected to social gatherings as well as those kinds of indoor businesses where large numbers of people gather together like indoor restaurants," said Dr. Farnitano.

At Paddock Bowl in Martinez silence isn't what you normally expect in a bowling alley. But when Rodney Shaull, the general manager, heard the news, he said he didn't want to take any chances and decided to comply with the restrictions early.

Shaull says it has been disappointing to see his retirement dream dealt such a blow. He says he grew up bowling at the Paddock Bowl and jumped at an opportunity to carry on the community spirit and purchase it from the previous owner.

He and another retired plumber bought and opened the place last February just one month before the pandemic.

"Forty six days, and then found out we had to close and we were devastated," said Shaull, adding that banks rejected their applications for loans.  "They wouldn't give us a PPP loan because we weren't in business long enough."

Under the new red tier restrictions, bowling alleys, indoor family entertainment centers and pools must close. Outdoor bars without food also must close. Retailers must return to just 50% capacity, shopping mall food courts to 25%, while gyms and fitness centers are set at 10%.

"We also are concerned there's some COVID fatigue going on. People getting tired of social distancing, wearing masks, and that might be contributing to things as well," said Farnitano.

At Fitness 19 in Concord staff say they're trying to keep up "social fitnessing."

"We're keeping six feet apart. We have a capacity of only 10% so we're keeping it to 40 now," said Jason Schultz, a front desk worker at Fitness 19 in Concord.

Extra cleaning, temperature checks and masks are now part of the routine.

"What I'd really like to see is just stick with just enforcing the coronavirus rules and protocols and just try to keep the cases down, and maybe we can come out of the pandemic and be stronger," said Schultz.

"You know what, it's just life. And sometimes you just gotta roll with it," said Shaull at Paddock Bowl.

For updates from the Contra Costa County Health Department, click here. 

Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for @KTVU.  Email Jana at and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana