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'It couldn't come soon enough' | Lodi business owners celebrate lifted stay-at-home orders

On Monday, restaurants, wineries and breweries could return to outdoor dining and nail salons, hair salons, barbershops and personal care services could reopen.

LODI, Calif. — Business owners across the San Joaquin region are celebrating the stay-at-home order being lifted on Monday, -- moving back into the purple tier of the state's coronavirus reopening plan.

Moving back into the purple tier means that outdoor dining can come back for restaurants, wineries, and breweries, with modifications. It also means that hair salons, nail salons, and personal care service businesses can reopen indoors.

"Oh, it's incredible! It's incredible information for us. We have struggled through this whole time trying to stay positive and stay creative in ways to continue to engage our customers," Akaylia Sidener, the tasting room manager for Van Ruiten Family Winery said.

On Monday afternoon, they seated the first group of customers on their patio in just about two months because of the stay-at-home order.

“We have seen a dramatic decline in sales to our direct consumer," Sidener said. “How it can adversely affect us is it’s very difficult for somebody to want to purchase wine if they don’t have an opportunity to taste it first."

And they’re hoping this will start to bring more tourism back through the area.

"Most of our customers that we've been seeing over the last several months have been local, and now this, we'll be able to encourage to bring that tourism back," she said.

It was a welcome surprise for Shea Porter, the co-owner of Porter’s Pub in Lodi, too.

“It couldn’t come soon enough, that’s for sure," Porter said. "I have not broken the rules yet, so when he announced we could go ahead and reopen, I was like 'Thank you!'"

It was only last week that Porter said she drained the last of their savings just to cover payroll.

“I was a little nervous on Friday. We were able to make payroll, but...that was it, we’re done. And so being able to open, even though it’s just outdoors, I’ll take it!” she said.

And it didn’t take long for the news to spread to her loyal regulars.

“Everything was taken for granted and to be honest with you, I’m savoring this moment right now because it’s nice," Joe Ramos said.

This comes as the demand for ICU care in San Joaquin County is still at a near a record high. That's why some business owners worry that this won't be their last shutdown.

"I have a really bad feeling that if he does do a stay-at-home order again, I don't know too many people that are going to abide by it, I really don't, myself included. I don't think I could do another shutdown," Porter said.

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