Stuck in purple tier: Sonoma and Contra Costa counties frustrated but hopeful

At the Round Table Pizza Clubhouse in Concord Wednesday, the restaurant, like all the others in Contra Costa County, could only provide outdoor dining, take-out, and delivery. Still no indoor service.

"Absolutely frustrating. Not able to do the same as neighboring restaurants In other counties. Being able to be open and hurting our business. It's so frustrating," says owner Ali Vahdat.

Frustrating because Tuesday, neighboring Alameda County along with Solano County advanced from the purple tier into the red tier allowing for indoor dining at 25% capacity with safety restrictions.

Gyms and movie theaters can also reopen with limitations.

That leaves Contra Costa and Sonoma Counties as the only Bay Area counties still in the lowest purple tier.

"There's not that much difference from Contra Costa to other neighboring counties to not be open for dining," says Vahdat.

But there appears to be some promising news for the two counties just around the corner.

Officials say the two counties could move into the red early next week.

"Our numbers have been consistent since after the Christmas holidays in seeing the numbers come down. It's just a matter of when," says Kim McCarl, Contra Costa Health Department spokeswoman.

Sonoma County is seeing a similar scenario. Case rates are coming down.

"I'm hoping next Monday or Tuesday. And I realize for the restaurants they want to open," says Sonoma County Supervisor David Rabbitt.

It's difficult to know exactly why those counties are lagging. Sonoma does have a large population of agricultural workers.

"Our county is not like Marin. We have different sectors. Different demographics. We're just dealing with a different reality," says Rabbitt.

For Contra Costa, it's less clear why it is behind most of the others in the Bay Area.

"We're left with a mystery with Contra Costa. I still feel we need to delve deeper into the data," says UCSF infectious disease specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong.