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'Here we go again' | Placer County restaurants scramble to comply with rolled back restrictions

The state issued a new order for businesses across the county to either close or stop indoor operations because of a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations.

PLACER COUNTY, Calif. — Placer County rolled back on business reopenings on Sunday after seeing a surge in new coronavirus cases and hospitalizations over the past week.

The state has issued a new order for businesses across the county to either close or stop indoor operations.

"Here we go again," said Eric Johnson, owner of The Chef's Table in Rocklin.

With 66 reservations already on the books for Sunday brunch, Johnson was told late Saturday night, he needed to shut down his indoor seating, for a second time.

"We'll never get to the revenue stream by doing to-go business as we would do if we were doing in-dining," he said.

Because Placer County has been on the state's watch list for more than three days with a surge in coronavirus hospitalizations, the state is ordering all indoor operations to close at restaurants, winery tasting rooms, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, zoos, museums and cardrooms across the county.

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"Ultimately, I think it should just be on us as adults to make up your mind whether you want to go out or not, and then allow me as a business owner, the best chance to be able to make it and sustain income and my family's income," Johnson said.

Johnson didn't have a built-in patio, so he set up a few tables and umbrellas in the parking lot of his restaurant to comply with the new restrictions.

"A case goes up and ICU rate comes within this and you shut businesses down who are legitimate, who have done everything they've been asked to do and more? Outrageous,"  said Dottie Linden, a regular at The Chef's Table.

Linden has been coming to the restaurant for years, and once she found out her reservation was no longer available, she doubled her to-go order for Sunday and is planning to call Governor Gavin Newsom's office to complain on Monday.

"They have families to feed. They have bills to pay. This is absolutely unconscionable!" she said.

Even businesses that do have a built-in patio like BarnBurner Café said this order to close once again came as a surprise.

"I was just like 'I have to post something on Facebook.' I have to make sure our customers know because a lot of people have been sitting inside because of the air conditioner," said Tiffany York, owner of Barnburner Cafe. "It's been over 100 degrees. It gets very hot out."

York said their dining room was only open for about a month before it got sealed off again.

Still, the restaurant found a way to make a socially distant Sunday brunch happen in a pinch.

"We made sure to measure the tables so we're not seating any parties more than five and then everyone is six feet away. All of our employees are wearing masks, and I'm trying to promote doing takeout more," she said.

Placer County said these closures will remain in effect for at least the next three weeks.

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