SAN JOSE, Calif. - Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced a reopening plan for the state of California. It’s welcome news to the millions of business owners in the Golden State who have struggled to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic inspired restrictions.
"We are ready to transition back into indoor dining and welcome our customers back," said Jennifer Koopman, owner of two Yuki Sushi restaurants in the South Bay.
She said her two restaurants stayed afloat during the past year thanks to loyal clientele. Now, workers performed a hurried spring cleaning Tuesday afternoon. That work precedes the next obstacle to normalcy: Finding good help.
"My biggest concern is being able to staff the right amount of people so that we can provide the quality of service that our customers are used to," said Koopman.
Around the South Bay and state, business owners are gearing up after the governor’s announcement. Gavin Newsom said the return to normal is ticketed for June 15.
"It’s amazing. It’s like this big weight has been lifted," said Jim Angelopoulos, owner of Yolked Extreme Breakfast restaurant in Morgan Hill.
The easing of economic hardships is equally enjoyed by businesses large and small.
In the pre-pandemic world, Santa Clara County enjoyed basketball tournament games, NHL All-Star’s, and college football’s championship game. Also, there used to be a plethora of conventions in Downtown San Jose.
Since COVID, the Capitol of Silicon Valley has been quiet, costing the area tens of millions of dollars.
"I think a lot of pent-up demand for people to get back into some of the rhythms that they used to have," said Scott Knies, executive director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
Added University of New Haven economist Dr. Brian Marks, "We should be cautiously optimistic in the state of California, and for the nation."
He said the return of California is good for this state, and the other 49 in the nation. But re-engaging the sixth largest economy in the world is broader than a date on the calendar.
"It is not binary. We don’t just flip the switch on June 15th, and everything will revert to pre-COVID-19," said Dr. Marks. "It will not be immediate. It will take time."
Many businesses owners are hopeful continued slow and steady progress will return them to the way things used to be, eventually.
"Anything positive, coming out of this, is such a great thing. I’m ecstatic," said Angelopoulos.
Officials said if the state reopens fully, it’ll do so with COVID safety protocols in place.