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Indoor Dining Is Back as San Diego County Moves Into Red Tier

Restaurants can restart with 25 percent capacity indoors or 100 people, whichever is fewer

California Deaths Hit Record As U.S. Cases Soar Getty

After being in the purple tier since January 25, San Diego County has been upgraded to the red tier which means that restaurants can resume indoor dining for the first time since last November. With food service workers now eligible for vaccinations, local eateries that have been restricted to outdoor dining and takeout for months are finally able to restart indoor dining at 25 percent capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer. This follows the recent rule shift that allows breweries, wineries, and distilleries that do not serve food to reopen outdoors.

The red tier changes should be effective starting at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 17, as the state has modified its “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” plan now that California has accomplished the feat of administering two million COVID-19 vaccine doses in the hardest-hit areas. County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher called it “another strong step forward in our responsible recovery from COVID-19.”

Operating at a quarter capacity indoors might not seem like much, but as California Restaurant Association’s San Diego chapter president Ben Clevenger said on a recent episode of the Scene in San Diego podcast, it could be a saving grace for many restaurants, especially those without the ability and space to offer outdoor dining.

Being in the red tier will also permit museum, zoos, and aquariums to resume indoor activity at 25 percent capacity, with San Diego area theme parks set to reopen April 1. It should also allow the Padres to return for opening day with the stands at Petco Park filled to 20 percent capacity.