SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. - Public health officials announced San Mateo County is now advancing to the less restrictive orange tier. It's the first Bay Area county to do so. The change allows some businesses to expand capacity and others to reopen for the first time.
San Mateo County has been here before. They reached the orange tier last October. But business owners say they're optimistic this time will be different.
At Pump it Up of Belmont, the phone hasn't stopped ringing. After being shuttered for a year, owners of the party venue call it a welcome sound.
"We are already getting calls. We are so so thankful to our customers to stay with us. We were kind of afraid they had forgotten but they have not," says owner Swati Gupta.
It's San Mateo County's move into the orange tier that's making this possible.
Suddenly, family entertainment venues are allowed to reopen indoors. And while it's only at 25% capacity, it's a start.
"We have told ourselves it's like starting a business from scratch. We just have to stay with it and hopefully sooner rather than later we will be back on our feet. And so that is what we are hoping for," says Gupta.
They're not alone. Businesses around San Mateo County are scrambling to get ready.
Bel Mateo Bowl has invested in new sanitation equipment. Lucky Chances in Colma is adding plexiglass to their casino floor.
And Devil's Canyon Brewery in San Carlos is making plans for a big weekend, or at least as big as they're allowed.
"Oh my gosh, we are really excited. We're just excited to have people back here and have concerts again and have events. So hopefully with the orange tier we're able to get closer to that," says Mackenzie Carpenter of Devil's Canyon.
The orange tier also allows places of worship, museums and zoos to increase capacity to 50%.
Retail can now be at full capacity.
And offices can reopen indoors with modifications.
"If we have public health, that's what the tiers give us, then we have economic health," says David Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.
San Mateo County officials say this is a time to celebrate progress. But that we can't let our guard or our masks down yet.
"I am seeing that there is a sense of life coming back," says Derek Ward of San Mateo County.
Erik Giacomelli, also a resident, adds, "It's great for the economy. I still want people to stay very safe though."
San Mateo County officially enters the orange tier on Wednesday.