Economy sees full reopening — but some businesses see little practical change

STORY BY OLIVIA HEWANG AND MELODY XU, PHOTOS BY ARYA NASIKKAR

The State of California this week underwent its full economic reopening, lifting major COVID-19 restrictions that have long been the norm for the past year.

But despite the changes on paper, many in Downtown Mountain View haven’t noticed any immediate change.

“To be honest, it looks the same as it normally is,” Ben, a Crepevine employee said.

He cited outdoor seating on Castro St. as a factor in keeping restaurants like Crepevine busy throughout the pandemic, allowing for the hustle and bustle of pedestrians and diners on the street since last summer. The restaurant noticed little-to-no impact in the days following the state reopening, because the flow of customers was essentially the same.

And while the state has rolled back restrictions, private businesses are still free to mandate masking and social distancing, which some businesses like Books Inc. have opted for by continuing to require masks upon entrance. The bookstore did remove sneeze guards from the countertops of the registers, and an employee predicted that mask usage will become more open-ended in the future.

Jericho, who works at Gelato Classico, noted the same effect of outdoor seating as observed at Crepevine. Customers at the gelato shop — which was hit heavily in the early pandemic — had “gradually increased because [of] outdoor dining” until the store bounced back. 

Like Crepevine, Gelato Classico’s minimal adjustment in response to the state reopening included updating employees on mask policy which now stipulates that while employees must continue to wear them, they no longer have to enforce a mask usage on customers.

But that hasn’t changed much.

“I haven’t seen a lot of people who are going inside without a mask … so I don’t see any changes,” Jericho said.

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