SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — In less than a month, California businesses will be allowed to operate at full capacity and without social distancing or masks for the first time since March 2020, according to state officials.
“It could not have come soon enough for our restaurants,” said Region Business CEO Joshua Wood. “The industry was just absolutely decimated.”
Region Business runs a trade association of locally-owned, independent restaurants and supports the Farm-to-Fork brand for Sacramento.
“We’re heading into the roaring ‘20s,” Wood told FOX40.
Wood believes Friday’s announcement from the state will create a boost in business restaurants desperately need, especially for those that don’t have space to operate outside.
“So this really… what it does is opens it up for everyone in the industry to come back, and I think that we’re going to see people just pouring in,” Wood said.
“June 15 is a date we’ve got circled on our calendars,” said Robert Alvis, the general manager at Crest Theatre.
“Getting to here has been really hard and we’re hoping that the public is going to come out and support us,” Alvis continued.
While film showings already returned last month, Alvis said concert tours will not likely be back until September.
However, he said just because he can sell out a show does not mean he will. Ticket sales all depend on how many people are willing to go out again.
“There is going to be this period where we have to gain the public’s trust so that they feel comfortable coming out,” he said.
Meanwhile, there is another group that is slow to return.
“Number one issue that we’ve heard from our restaurants — besides, of course, dealing with all this is — the difficulty in getting qualified workers to work in their restaurants,” Wood said.
Wood admitted filling back-of-house positions, such as dishwashers, has been difficult for many of his members. But he believes that problem will solve itself when the public starts dining out en masse and restaurants can spend more on wages.
“The barrier of masks going away will send just a different signal and will really make it so people feel more comfortable,” he said.