Rolling back to a restrictive tier again may be the final hit, Sacramento business owners say

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — When Mike Ortega leads workout classes, he’s used to changing things up in an instant, but he has far less endurance for sudden shifts in how to run his business.

“It gets frustrating, to say the least,” said Ortega, the owner of HIIT Fitness.

After months of reversing rules from the state, he’s now learning he must close down again or move HIIT Fitness outside.

“I could understand if someone comes down and says, ‘Hey, you’re not following the rules; you need to shut down,’ but whether you’re following the rules or not, you’re forced to shut down… is really the hard part.”

With COVID-19 cases rising, Sacramento County is moving back to the state’s most restrictive reopening level: the purple tier.

Gyms, restaurants, houses of worship, movie theaters, and other businesses have 72 hours to stop indoor operations.

Sacramento Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye says private gatherings and Halloween celebrations are largely to blame for the spike. 

“People gathering in large groups and not wearing face coverings now… I think we’re seeing the impacts of that,” she said.

“It’s a nightmare,” added Jennifer Swiryn, co-owner of The Morning Fork.

While Swiryn understands the health concerns, she’s worried her midtown restaurant might not survive moving outdoors again: “We’re having to deal with it being freezing cold now, and the transient problem, the homeless problem, is just so profound.”

She still plans to give outdoor dining another try.

“I believe we didn’t get this far just to get this far, but I’m scared,” Swiryn admitted.

It’s a familiar feeling for Ortega, who hopes moving back to parking lot and virtual fitness classes will be enough to pay the bills.

“We’re trying to keep our neighbors safe. I get that,” Ortega said. “It’s just hard.”

This time around, personal care services like hair and nail salons are allowed to stay open.

Health officials say Sacramento County will remain in the purple tier for at least three weeks.

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