More businesses, including theaters, could be reopening within weeks in San Bernardino County and indoor dining could also be allowed. Health officials say the COVID-19 rates are trending toward the red tier if there isn’t a possible Super Bowl surge in cases.
At Zendejas Mexican Grill, the empty chairs are a reminder of how the pandemic is financially destroying this once popular restaurant.
Co-owner Genaro Zendejas says that's why he can't make ends meet.
“The only place we can sit people is outside,” he said. "We haven't been able to make payments on the rent."
His employees are also struggling from fewer hours and fewer tips.
"I use my tips for rent and help my dad because right now my dad is unemployed," Alexandra Zendejas, a server at the restaurant said.
Weeks after the governor lifted his Stay-at-Home order, San Bernardino County is quickly trending in a positive direction, from the most restrictive purple tier to the less restrictive red tier.
San Bernardino County supervisor, Curt Hagman says the numbers need to keep dropping to about seven to eight percent overall.
"Over the last two or three weeks we went from a high of about 22% positivity rate down to just a little over 10%,” Hagman said. "That includes both the positivity index and the average index and our testing rates, so we are still encouraging people to get tested."
If there isn't a Super Bowl surge and the numbers stay in the red tier for two weeks, more schools and businesses could reopen with limited capacity as early as March.
"Things we haven't seen open for months -- will have limited access like movie theaters and indoor dining,” Hagman said.
That's good news for Zendejas and his employees.
He says even with limited indoor capacity at 25%, the additional sales would make a dramatic financial difference.
"At least we are going to be able to serve 60 to 100 people here," Zendejas added. “I feel very positive and very optimistic. I think we are in the right track."