On Wednesday Riverside County entered into the Orange Tier of the state's color-coded reopening system for COVID-19. It is the first time Riverside County has entered into the less restrictive tier since the start of the pandemic, and when the system was imposed by the state's department of public health.
On Tuesday Riverside County announced the transition, saying "the move is based on meeting a statewide goal to administer 4 million vaccines in disadvantaged communities, and the subsequent loosening of the case rate threshold to move into the orange tier."
"It means a lot. It’s been busy for us so allowing us to have more seating indoors is going to help us a lot because right now its been hard not having enough seating for people," said Blue Coyote Grill General Manager, Cesar Moreno.
There have been many more people in town, but not enough room to seat all customers at once. Part of that will change at Blue Coyote Grill in downtown Palm Springs now that the Orange Tier will allow restaurants to operate at 50 percent capacity indoors.
"We have 4 different rooms that we have indoor seating so we have adjusted the tables already to 50 percent capacity," said Moreno.
Some of the most notable changes include bars being able to open back up after having been closed since the start of the pandemic. Bars are allowed to offer drinks outdoors without patrons having to order food. Under the state's most stringent guidelines, bars previously either had to close or offer a full food menu to stay open.
"When we were just a bar we offered snacks like chips, peanuts, popcorn stuff like that," said Beverly Glisson, Hair of the Dog Manager.
Glisson said they partnered with 2 nearby businesses to offer a menu "of sandwiches or hotdogs or sliders and chips," and also tacos 6 nights a week.
Bar staff has added on additional tables on the patio, according to Glisson.
"I think it might make a huge difference, although with the weather heating up like it is I think more people want to be inside where it’s air conditioned rather than outside where it’s 100 degrees," said Glisson.
Among the other changes, churches, movie theaters, and restaurants will be able to allow 50 percent capacity indoors, while retailers can allow 100 percent capacity with mask-wearing and other safety protocols.