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SLO County businesses adjust to 'red tier' changes

Angel Russell
Regal Cinemas in Arroyo Grande welcomed back moviegoers on Wednesday.

San Luis Obispo County advanced to a less-restrictive phase in California’s COVID-19 blueprint Tuesday, and businesses are yet again adjusting to the new changes. 

Regal Cinemas in Arroyo Grande is welcoming back moviegoers, and movie buff Joe Knudsen was the first in line Wednesday morning, planning on watching a few movies back-to-back.

“I just can’t wait to get back to the movie experience," Knudsen said. "It’s not the same watching movies at home all the time."

When employees at Farmhouse Corner Market in San Luis Obispo got word they could reopen for limited indoor seating, they jumped at making modifications once again. But Andrew Gin of Farmhouse said at this point, they are used to the changes.

“We are in an industry where you have to roll with the punches," Gin said. "There is always some sort of issue going on in the kitchen, but it’s about problem solving.”

But it’s not all relief for businesses. Owners Michael and Paden Hughes of Gymnazo in San Luis Obispo said the pandemic-caused changes are a lot to keep up with.

“It’s interesting being married with two children under 3 in a half, while owning a business together that is under attack on a constant basis," Paden Hughes said. " [We are] just trying to survive.”

Michael Hughes said when they had to do outdoor only, it wasn’t just the coronavirus that added complications. 

“Then the fires add to that whole piece," Michael Hughes said. "So when we open inside or outside, it is an operations dilemma each time.”

Gymnazo now allows for indoor and outdoor use as some people don’t feel comfortable indoors yet, the couple said.

Paden Hughes said while they have a big indoor space, she feels for other gyms that may not have the space to accommodate the red tier’s restrictions. She said she feels cautiously optimistic about whatever happens next, depending on COVID numbers.

"It's just like surfing," Paden Hughes said. “You want to catch the wave that you’re in, ride it to the best of your ability and get ready for the next set. Because there will be a next set. I guess that's entrepreneurship—it's just we're just under a bit of a microscope with a little fire underneath us right now.”

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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