'Devastating news:' Napa County among the 41 California counties moving back to purple tier

Napa County is among the Bay Area counties dropping two tiers into purple status, triggering strict pandemic restrictions.

"We knew that we were going to change a tier, but we didn't know it was two tiers down, and that's the hard part, unexpected," said Yusuf Topal, owner of Tarla Mediterranean Grill in downtown Napa. "I don't know how we're going to run our business, it's going to be very challenging."

Tarla, in business for nine years, has 38 employees but will keep only a dozen going forward, offering take-out and patio dining.

While in the state's orange tier, the restaurant was seating about 70 diners indoors, half its capacity.

But in purple, Tarla has only 20 seats, under cover, outside.

"I'm not sure how we'll do it with the winter rain and cold so we are worried," said Topal.

Last week California had 13 counties in the purple tier, now it is up to 41.

They represent 94 percent of the state population.

And reflecting the urgency, state officials are re-evaluating covid rates more frequently, and downgrading counties more swiftly, giving them just one day to make required changes.

"This is devastating news to Napa County, for our businesses and our residents," said Alfredo Pedroza, Vice-Chair of the County Board of Supervisors. "We did everything we could to prevent this day, but unfortunately we got this news from the state that we're back in the purple tier."  

At the same time, Pedroza says surging rates statewide and nationally cannot be ignored.

"We want to make sure we're protecting public health at all costs."

Counties with a new hue fear for small business survival.

Gyms must also move everyone outdoors.

Owners and members are tired of the constant rule revisions.      

"If they're going to shut it down so this virus can go away, then I respect that," said Joseph Martinez, coming out of the In Shape Fitness Center in Napa. "Hopefully that can prevent all these shutdowns again, and I could finally have good workouts."

Pedroza notes, pandemic fatigue is a big problem.

"We've been at this for months, people making sacrifices, not seeing families, not celebrating important milestones and it's human nature to be tired but this is when we need people to double down."

Salons and barbershops, with limits on occupancy, can remain open but after previous shutdowns, stylists admit they are uneasy.

"I feel like the sooner we all comply the faster this will take care of itself," said Amber Prescott, who works at Bloom Salon in downtown Napa.

"I had a lot of people calling the salon, to get appointments for this week, because they're worried about if we may have to close."

Prescott says her clients are talking nervously about the holidays.

"A lot of them say they're either skipping out on the holiday or they're going to do something small with the family members they already see every day." 

At Tarla Grill on Monday night, the tables seemed split between out-of-town visitors and locals who made a point to come in.

"We're still going to support our restaurants because in Napa we've got an amazing food culture," said Rodger Collinson, who lives in Napa.

"We've got to preserve that and make sure it stays alive." 

In a county that relies on tourism, the purple tier represents lockdown and for many, hardship. 

"So now potentially we have a husband and wife both working in hospitality and both unemployed at the same time," said Pedroza."That's a very real scenario in Napa County and that's what worries me the most."

Debora Villalon is a reporter for KTVU.  Email Debora at debora.villalon@foxtv.com and follow her on Twitter@DeboraKTVU