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Restaurants contend with rules, rain to re-open outdoor dining

Posted on February 3, 2021 by Sonoma Valley Sun

The State of California eased restrictions to allow some businesses to re-open and restaurants to return to outdoor dining. Now if only the weather will cooperate.

Valley restaurants scurried to open for seated dining as quickly as feasible after the long, expensive closure. On Tuesday in Sonoma, crews were installing (above) an outdoor seating area in the parking zone in front of Mary’s Pizza. But hopes of a busy weekend were dampened Wednesday with dark skies and rain.

With the roll-back, the state Public Health Department returns to the color-coded tier system, which is based on County case rates and test positivity. Sonoma County is still experiencing significant community spread and remains in the most restrictive tier.
Under the purple tier, outdoor gatherings are permitted with up to three households and personal care businesses can open with modifications.
  • Hair salons and barbershops open indoors with modifications
  • Personal care services open indoors with modification
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums open outdoors only with modifications
  • Restaurants open outdoor only with modifications
  • Wineries open outdoor only with modifications
  • Bars, breweries, and distilleries where a meal is provided open outdoor only with modifications
  • Limited services open
  • Family entertainment centers open outdoor only
  • Retail stores (clothing, books, jewelry, etc.) may open at a maximum 25% capacity with modifications
  • Indoor shopping malls may open at a maximum 25% capacity. Food courts and common areas remain closed
  • Grocery stores may open at a maximum 50% capacity with modifications


One thought on “Restaurants contend with rules, rain to re-open outdoor dining

  1. I am happy that restaurants have reopened for outdoor dinning. But, is it really “outdoor” in some cases? Driving around I see enclosed tents and structures that are either entirely enclosed or enclosed on 3 sides. I do not want to be the one who reports businesses, as they are having enough trouble just trying to survive right now. I think the cities in Sonoma county and the county in unincorporated areas, should be blanket notifying all restaurants, tasting rooms, and all businesses that are serving food and drink outdoors, what the rules are. The structure must be open on 3 sides. And this does not mean a foot open at the bottom or top, I means open on 3 sides. Eating and drinking in a pseudo “outdoor” area is the same as gathering inside. If it is a restaurant that I frequent and I find they have one of these enclosed tents or structures, I will let the management know that they need to change it and that is the reason I will not be dinning there.

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