The spike in COVID-19 cases could delay the July 1 reopening in Contra Costa County

It was a busy Saturday at Main Street Kitchen in Walnut Creek, well, as busy as it could be with limited tables and outdoor seating only. “Just this week we got this parklet that allowed us to double our space while still maintaining social distance,” said general manager Nina Saleh.

She said the restrictions around COVID-19 forced them to completely change their business model, switching to a take-away menu, and now finally allowing guests to sit, with tables six feet away.

“We want everyone to be safe. The health and safety of our guests and staff is our number one priority, ”Saleh said.

As of July 1, Contra Costa County was on the way to allow dinner service to begin. But now, an increase in COVID cases could curb those plans.

A press release was issued on Friday. She began, “Contra Costa Health Services is evaluating whether the county should continue its current reopening schedule, due to recent data showing that COVID-19 activity is increasing in the community.”

Health officials say the number of hospitalizations increased 42 percent. The average number of cases has increased from 39 per day to 68. And more younger people are testing positive.

Saleh said as much as he would like to offer more meals, “We want things to go smoothly and well, not just quickly.”

If the county pauses plans to move forward, restaurants, beauty salons, bars, gyms, hotels, and tattoo parlors will be affected.

“The past three to four months have been devastating for us,” said Sean Delfani, CEO of Zebra Tattoo & Body Piercing in Walnut Creek.

He said that a possible change in the timeline could really hurt, and endanger the lives of his 50 staff members.

“It was a huge shock because we were really preparing for a full reopening and now it has returned to a waiting game, which we have been patiently doing for 4 months,” said Delfani. “We are really at the mercy of the county.”

Delfani said she ordered jewelry and hired tattoo artists before the July 1 reopening. “It is a great success because we now have payroll,” she said. “We have an inventory that has been ordered and yes, it is bad for sure.”

At this time, Zebra Tattoo may allow customers within the store to purchase jewelry and other items, but body art is not permitted. Delfani said they are equipped with face shields, disposable aprons, masks and gloves.

The County is expected to announce any changes to the timeline on Monday. The CCHS statement says, “If we adjust the reopening schedule, it will be because we have an opportunity to prevent the pandemic from spiraling out of control in the county.”