The last few days have been a wild roller coaster for restaurants in Alameda County (the region that includes cities like Oakland, Berkeley, and Pleasanton). After months of takeout and delivery service only, the area reopened for outdoor sit-down dining on June 19. That ended on Friday, July 13, when new guidance from the state made clear that the county had not filed all the paperwork required to reopen. As of Wednesday afternoon, officials announced, outdoor dining has returned to Alameda County’s menu, after the state OKed its plans to proceed.
According to the Alameda County Public Health Department, its request to reopen for outdoor dining and other activities was approved earlier today, which means restaurants can again serve seated patrons outside. (The Oakland Zoo can also reopen as part of this approval, officials say, but indoor malls and church services must be shuttered.)
Effective Today, @AlamedaCounty Variance Approved: Outdoor Dining and Outdoor Operations of Oakland Zoo Now Allowed; Alameda County Remains on State Monitoring List: Indoor Worship Services and Indoor Malls are Required to Close pic.twitter.com/Ngo4ho0fD2— Alameda County Public Health Department (@Dare2BWell) July 15, 2020
Like every other part of the state, however, indoor dining and bars that don’t serve food still won’t be allowed to reopen at any point in July, officials confirm. Those activities were shut down after an announcement from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday, part of an effort to slow down the state’s skyrocketing cases of COVID-19.
Even with the approval of outdoor dining, Alameda County still remains on the state’s watchlist of counties where cases of coronavirus remain dangerously high. According to the LA Times, the area has 8,321 cases at last count, a 345-case increase from the day before. So far, 152 people have died of the virus, a four-person uptick from the day prior.