LODI (CBS13) — Many counties across the state moved further in California’s road to reopen plan, but San Joaquin County health officials are choosing to ease into it.

Some businesses in Lodi were hopeful Friday would be opening day, but found out earlier in the week the county wouldn’t be giving the go-ahead.

At Nostra Vita Winery in Lodi, production hasn’t slowed. But these days, Robert Indelicato eagerly awaits when he may see more people than bottles.

“We miss them,” Indelicato said. “You think you lost a good opportunity, but they’ll come back.”

Their winery was hoping to open their tasting room again on Friday after the state said it was okay last week.

“We were excited,” Indelicato said.

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But San Joaquin County scaled back, shocking gym owners like Saul Ochoa, who owns Woke Athletics Gym in Lodi.

“I was like — oh, so we’re not able to open,” Saul said.

Saul and his wife Ana, who owns the gym with him, were ready to work out with clients again. The pair put new protocols into place, but their gym equipment must go unused another day.

“We just play the waiting game at this point,” Ana said.

Talking with San Joaquin County, though, these prolonged closures may be for the best. The health department citing the recent spike in positive COVID-19 cases over the last several days. According to health department data, the county saw 79 new cases Thursday, the single-largest increase so far in the pandemic.

As of Friday evening, the county reported 1,444 cases and 42 hospitalizations. Forty-two people have died from the virus in San Joaquin County, which officials say is 2.8% of their cases.

While many are ready to get back to work, they’re also understanding. At Weidel Winery, tasting room manager Brenda Hunter is happy to wait.

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“I don’t want to be part of the reason there’s too many people in here and could contribute to that spike,” Hunter said.

Still, many others are patiently waiting to be out of limbo.

“Disappointed, yes, but we’ve got to follow the rules,” Indelicato said.

As for when these businesses can open, the county plans to keep an eye on the numbers. Dr. Maggie Park explained she chose to hold back some of these businesses from opening in fear they’d have to close again if the cases keep rising.

Heather Janssen

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