Open for lunch: California counties with few coronavirus cases re-start their economies

By Reuters

YUBA CITY, Calif.  - California state restrictions banning restaurants from offering sit-down meals have not yet been lifted, but you wouldn’t know that in downtown Yuba City, where families queued cheerfully for tables at the Happy Viking Sports Pub and Eatery.

Restaurant owner Sandee Drown talks with customer Tim Schmidt at the Happy Viking Sports Pub and Eatery after opening following coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions in Yuba City, California, U.S. May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Sharon Bernstein

The restaurant opened its doors to the public for the first time in 50 days on Monday, after county officials ruled that restaurants, retail stores and fitness centers could open if patrons and staff obeyed social distancing rules - even though restrictions technically remain in place for the entire state.

“We were tired of being in quarantine,” said Tyler Niesen, who had lunch at the Happy Viking with his wife Sidney, four-year-old daughter and two month old son. “We actually got to see people - family and friends.”

The family, who were not wearing masks, ordered burgers and greeted friends at the bustling restaurant. The couple said they were not worried about contracting the virus while out and about.