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San Diego business owners scramble to reopen after governor lifts stay-at-home order

"Wishful thinking we could be open tomorrow, but it’s impossible," said Johnny Rivera, owner of Great Maple.

SAN DIEGO — San Diego businesses spent Monday getting ready to reopen after Governor Gavin Newsom announced the stay at home order has been lifted statewide

"Yeah it was a big deal, it was a big surprise, I had not expected it that quickly," said Johnny Rivera, owner of Great Maple in Hillcrest. "We have to do a lot of things to prepare to fully open again, including bringing back all laid-off employees."

San Diego is now back in the purple tier, which means restaurants can resume outdoor dining, salons can reopen with restrictions, retail can allow 25 percent capacity and places of worship, movie theaters and gyms can reopen for outdoor services.

"We project forward over a four week period, and we determine if ICU capacity either meets or exceeds 15 percent," said Governor Newsom during a media briefing Monday.

The state predicts a month from now Southern California's ICU capacity will be at 33 percent. The governor says we're seeing a flattening of the curve but we're not out of the woods yet. 

"There's so many moving parts, and I get it comes back down to [that] we have to be safe," said Rebeca Hyde-Edwards, owner of Hyde-Edwards Salon and Spa in Little Italy.

She says the back and forth is confusing. "Obviously we want to go back to work, that's what we all want, but for me the frustration is there was never any warning," she said. "You're supposed to all of a sudden, drop and go."

"I subleased the back part of my building and shrunk my salon down because I can't afford to keep this juggling act, like many small businesses in the same situation, I'm holding on by a very slim thread," she added.

Rivera agrees. "Let’s be very clear, for anybody, this has been a huge impact for the restaurant business. There isn’t one restaurant that hasn’t been completely, if not annihilated, completely almost to their knees," he said.

Both Rivera and Hyde-Edwards hope to reopen their businesses under the purple tier restrictions before the end of the week.

Austin Campbell, owner of 15 Sola Salon studio locations across San Diego County is among several business owners excited, yet scrambling to get back to work.  "Now that we can open again, it's such a relief on so many different levels," Campbell said.

After learning about the order being lifted, Campbell was on the phone with his stylists right away. "I think a lot of people will be booking clients as soon as this afternoon," he said.

Nic Angius, co-owner of Cesarina Italian restaurant in Point Loma said that since the news was unexpected, he likely won't reopen for in-person dining until Thursday of this week. "It's great news. Honestly, I was just talking to people in the industry who were forecasting we'd be open by March, so this really caught us by surprise," Angius said

Campbell and Angius both say they're cautiously optimistic.

"We're not taking for granted that we can work cuz there could be another closure, but we are feeling good about it," Campbell said.

"We must take this in a very responsible manner because otherwise if we don't behave correctly, if we don't follow the safety guidelines, it's just going to bring us back to where we were," Angius said.

View what is allowed in the purple tier on the CA COVID-19 website


Governor Newsom during a media briefing Monday

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