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COVID-19: Citrus Heights businesses brace for next round of restrictions

Planet Fitness is located at 7016 Sunrise Blvd., in Citrus Heights. // M. Hazlip

By Mike Hazlip–
Citrus Heights restaurants, houses of worship, retailers and other businesses are preparing for another round of restrictions as Sacramento County moves back a step to the most restrictive classification, due to increasing COVID-19 case rates.

County health officials announced Tuesday that new COVID-19 tier assignments from the state will put Sacramento County, which includes cities like Citrus Heights and Rancho Cordova, back in Tier 1 Purple.

Sacramento County Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye told The Sacramento Bee this week that the sharp increase in cases is “probably due to Halloween celebrations.”

In a statement released on social media Tuesday, the City of Citrus Heights said the new restrictions would take effect Friday.

Business sectors and activities required to cease indoor operations include gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, places of worship, playgrounds, restaurants, wineries, bars pubs, and breweries, according to state guidelines. Outdoor operations will be allowed to continue under a tent or canopy.

Businesses allowed to continue indoor services include retail stores at 25% capacity, critical infrastructure, hair salons and barbershops, libraries at 25% capacity, and nail salons. Personal care services such as body waxing, tattoo, and massage parlors will also be allowed to conduct indoor activities with modifications, according to the state.

Malls and other shopping centers will be allowed to continue operation at 25% capacity, while common areas and food courts remain closed, according to state guidelines.

Area director for Planet Fitness, Layna Luchte, told The Sentinel Wednesday this will be the third round of closures the fitness center has endured since the pandemic began. Luchte said all Planet Fitness locations were first closed from March 17 through June 15. The second closure began July 13 and lasted until October 2. She said all locations will be cease indoor operations once again beginning Thursday night at 10 p.m.

Luchte considers gyms to be an essential service and said closing fitness facilites will have a negative impact on physical and mental health. She said she is not aware of any COVID-19 cases resulting from working out at any Planet Fitness locations. Many Planet Fitness members are unable to work out in their homes or outside, according to Luchte.

“Closing indoor operations completely is just putting a damper on people’s lives,” she said. “I think health and fitness is how we’re going to combat this virus.”

Luchte believes fitness centers are safe and said Planet Fitness locations have initiated preventative measures like using a fast-acting disinfectant, moving and wiping down equipment, decreasing capacity, and using touchless check-in.

A shift leader at Crepes and Burgers restaurant, Jason Grate, told The Sentinel Thursday he expects the new orders will have a significant impact on their business. Grate said he has been discussing ideas to serve customers outdoor with the restaurant’s senior staff. Adding heaters to an existing patio dining area has been considered, but plans have not been finalized as of press time.

A manager for Rosie’s Country Kitchen, Jessie Kaur, said the restaurant is also considering adding heaters for outdoor dining. Unlike some other resaurants however, Rosie’s does not have a covered outdoor patio. Kaur said they might offer take out orders on rainy days, and outdoor dining on other days.

Data from the state’s COVID-19 website shows 9.7 new COVID-19 cases per day per 100,000 people. The county has a 4.1% positivity rate, according to the data. Tier 1 Purple indicates “widespread” transmission of the virus. Last week, Sacramento county was listed as Tier 2 Red, a less-restrictive tier indicating “substantial” transmission.

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