Nevada County businesses open their doors to customers as state public health officials give them the green light

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NEVADA CITY, Calif. (KTXL) — Wednesday night, several counties across the state were back to business.

So far, the California Department of Public Health has approved reopening plans for 14 counties that will move faster than the statewide order.

The new plans allow for dine-in at restaurants and in-person shopping.

Business owners were thrilled to finally put open signs back in their windows. But when customers head back to their favorite restaurants or stores, they will notice some changes.

Wednesday was Lisa York’s first time dining in at a restaurant in two months.

“We had a very low count of the COVID in our county, so no, I feel very comfortable,” York told FOX40.

Eateries and stores are slowly starting to reopen across Nevada County after Gov. Gavin Newsom approved the county’s plan to move further into phase two, ahead of statewide guidelines. They met a series of qualifications, including a low rate of COVID-19 per capita and no deaths in recent weeks.

Darren Engstron, Owner of Calla Lily Crepes, jumped at the chance to welcome customers back inside. He said the last two months almost put him out of business.

“We’re not robots. We’re human beings and we need connection with each other,” Engstron said. “We need to find better ways to have that connection. Being able to dine in a restaurant with your family is one way to do that.”

He said he’s making sure to follow state safety guidelines by sanitizing before and after any customers dine in and closing off booths to ensure a 6-foot distance between parties.

“Only come into the store a couple at a time,” he explained.

Utopian Stone owner Patrick Dyer said he’ll limit the number of customers that come into his jewelry store if need be. But so far, it hasn’t been an issue.

“The town is very, very quiet and it’s not good for business or the town in general,” Dyer said. “And several businesses have permanently closed.”

He said he’s hoping customers will start returning as they learn of restrictions easing because his livelihood depends on it.

“We’ve been here for 47 years. I survived recessions and depressions,” Dyer told FOX40. “This is different. It’s bigger, it’s worldwide, but we’re going to be fine.”

The Nevada County Public Health Department has been out visiting businesses to make sure they are following social distancing and sanitation guidelines. Right now, they are focused on education.

Enforcement is an option if businesses don’t listen but they’re hoping it doesn’t come to that.

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