Madera County issues new restrictions amid COVID-19 spike

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A new health order went into effect on Tuesday evening for Madera County. It requires some businesses to stop indoor services and others to shut down completely.

The sound and smell of sizzling steak still fill the kitchen at Tijuana's Bar and Grill in downtown Madera, but the food and drinks are only available for take-out as the county faces a state requirement to shut down all indoor dining.

Owner George Buenrostro says, "Unfortunately we don't have an option for people to sit outside, a patio. It would be nice, but we don't have that."

Buenrostro says he's never experienced anything this challenging in the 30 years he's owned this restaurant, but he's thankful for loyal customers who have continued to support him throughout the pandemic.

He adds, "Us being a restaurant and bar, it's a little better for us. I feel bad for businesses that are only bars. It's harder for them."

Bars are required to close completely because the county has been on the state's monitoring list since July 4 due to a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.

Indoor operations are also off-limits at museums, theaters, and wineries.

Staff members at CRU Winery off Road 21 near Highway 99 have been sanitizing the patio and keeping misters running so guests can enjoy tastings outdoors.

CEO Nathan Stern says, "There's been so many changes over the past few months that we just roll with it and adapt to the current situation."

The Board of Supervisors is now looking at options for using funding from the federal CARES Act to provide grants for businesses impacted by the roller coaster of closures.

County CEO Jay Varney says, "You have a number of businesses who have opened back up, sustained some costs, brought on inventory, and now unfortunately we have to close them back down. So we will do our best to distribute a fair amount of this money out, and then the CARES Act can also be used for ongoing efforts to track or suppress the spread of COVID."

The new restrictions are scheduled to remain in effect through July 28.
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