Restaurants and salons recover as state shelter-in-place is lifted

Jeffrey Tu and Daniel Garepis-Holland

True Salon opened Tuesday after the business took the past week to readjust its operations. As the number of COVID-19 cases decrease, businesses are adjusting to more lax orders on indoor and outdoor services. “I think that the future of salons remains strong but we have had to adapt with our schedules for social distancing and sanitation,” said Lori Romero, owner of True Salon on California Avenue. Photo: Daniel Garepis-Holland

Local restaurants and salons are resuming some business operations following California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s lifting of restrictive stay-at-home orders Jan. 25 in response to increases in Intensive Care Unit capacity. 

Under the new order, outdoor dining, indoor and outdoor personal care services, and outdoor gatherings are now permitted. Certain sports activities may now resume. Finally, the 10 p.m. curfew for nonessential activities is no longer in effect.

Lori Romero, owner of True Salon in Palo Alto which, reopened Tuesday, says she believes that even though the restrictions are lifted, the road to recovery will be tough. 

“Our industry is based on returning clients and [we] have built a strong relationship with clients,” Romero stated in an email to The Paly Voice. “However … we do see a few clients that do not feel safe enough to come back just yet.”

Gott’s Roadside in Town and Country has resumed outdoor dining, which it said is a key part of its operations.

“For us it [lifting of restrictions] is always good,” Julien Sarazin, general manager of Gott’s, said. “We’ve had to change our operations most of the year, only taking to-go orders. We just can’t wait to welcome customers again in the outdoor area, and hopefully maybe indoors later this year.”

Other restaurants in Palo Alto say the lifting of restrictions is not going to help businesses in the long term. Poke House in Palo Alto has decided to keep outdoor dining closed, according to Lucio Jacobl, shift lead at Poke House. 

“We predict that even though the state says coronavirus cases are going down, by reopening the option of dining out, we think the cases are going to go up and we don’t want to be as exposed to it,” Jacobl said. “We’re going to stay as safe as possible.”

According to state projections, all five regions of California will have at least 15% of intensive care beds available for at least four weeks. Cases have just topped 100,000 in Santa Clara County, according to the county’s dashboard, and the county continues to stay in the purple tier, restricting the capacity of certain business operations.

“I am not sure if the ‘buzz’ of a busy salon feel will be coming back anytime soon,” Romero stated. “It will be a slow return.”