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Restaurants reopen indoor dining as Riverside County moves to red tier

Riverside County is in the next tier of reopening.

The county hit the state's benchmarks for a second straight week, allowing it to move from the "widespread" or purple tier, into the "substantial" or red tier.

That allows a number of businesses and places of worship to reopen indoor operations – including indoor dining at restaurants, at a reduced capacity.

Restaurant owners we spoke with say they're hoping it will be the push they need to keep them in business.

"It's going to make a good difference," said Alana Coffin, owner of Las Casuelas Original in Palm Springs. She had customers ready to dine indoors once again as soon as the announcement was made Riverside County would advance to the red tier.

"We had people coming right away," Coffin said. "Some of our locals, who have been sitting outside all summer long."

The restaurant had plexiglass up between tables, which were only being seated 6 feet apart. Silverware must be individually wrapped, and menus cant be reused.

Coffin worried that for some businesses, 25 percent capacity might not be enough to keep them open.

"We're so blessed that we have a lot of to go business – Postmates, Grubhub and Door Dash, so that really keeps us busy and with the inside addition and our patio,I  think we're going to be okay," she said.

But even with indoor dining, some customers remained cautious about virus transmission indoors.

"We just thought it would be a little safer being in the open space, as opposed to being inside, enclosed," said Claudia Calderon.

"We still will have the patio seating. We're getting our weather back and people still have the option to sit outside," Coffin said. "Those who choose to sit inside can and it'll work for everyone."

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Jake Ingrassia

Joining News Channel 3 and CBS Local 2 as a reporter, Jake is excited to be launching his broadcasting career here in the desert. Learn more about Jake here.


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