Stanislaus County businesses await move into California’s red tier

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STANISLAUS COUNTY, Calif. (KTXL) — Business owners were disheartened Thursday to hear that Stanislaus County would remain in the purple tier, the most restrictive tier in the state’s reopening plan. 

Rich Lowdermilk is the owner of Buckhorn Grill in Modesto, which opened just two years ago.

“When the food comes out right, people are usually, ‘Wow, this is, you know, some of the best tri-tip I’ve ever had,’” Lowdermilk told FOX40.

He’s just one of many restaurant owners in Stanislaus County who have been struggling to survive during the pandemic. 

“We’re getting help with different things, which is keeping the doors open,” Lowdermilk said. “But, you know, that’s gonna run out. And if it does run out, it could mean the end of the business.”

With just outdoor dining, they’re at 15% of their total capacity. 

“I don’t make the rules. I wish we could be open, you know, it would help our business, help us keep up with bringing back all our employees and, you know, serving the community,” he said.

Health Services Agency spokeswoman Kamlesh Kaur said while the county is close, it hasn’t met the state’s daily positive case rate.

“We can’t move to the next tier because in order for us to move on, we need to have more testing and to be able to show that the community spread is at a certain level,” Kaur said.

The red tier would allow restaurants, churches and other businesses to welcome a limited number of people back inside.

“The impact is not just the business, it’s not just the hotels,” said Todd Aaronson with Visit Modesto. “It’s the employees, the employees’ families, the kids of those employees, and the businesses that they all support.”

Lowdermilk, like others, is looking forward to that day.

“Soon as they give the go ahead, we’ll be ready,” he said.

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