By Ryan Hill

PLACERVILLE (CBS13) – It’s a sight for sore eyes and hungry stomachs in El Dorado County. Restaurants are able to welcome customers back inside for the first time in over a month.

“They’re thrilled. They’re really happy to have us back,” Erica Huston, manager and part-owner of Buttercup Pantry, said.

“Oh! It’s wonderful!” Jean Jubb said.

El Dorado County is one of three counties in our area in the “red tier” with the state’s new reopening criteria. In that tier, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters can have limited capacity indoor operations again.

“We built wooden barrier between our booths. We clean every half hour. We clean all of the menus. We clean everything. There’s a lot of little things we do and of course the face masks,” Huston said.

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Those masks aren’t keeping some from coming back inside.

“No reservations. I couldn’t wait,” Jean Jubb said. “I couldn’t wait until, you know, things started opening up again.”

But, the new normal is still in the minds of people like Jillian Marrero and her husband.

“I am pregnant and sometimes I don’t feel super comfortable coming back to the gym,” Marrero said. “So we try to go during times where people will hopefully be following the guidelines.”

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Following the guidelines can mean an escape to a sense of normalcy some are craving.

“The movies are the big one for my wife and I. That was our weekly thing or our little getaway from reality to go see a movie,” Casey Lewis, a Placerville resident, said.

A getaway is breaking a sweat for some; giving a small glimpse of the old normal.

“Our high-fives, you know, are across the way. As soon as you walk in the door, you have to put hand sanitizer on. We’re requiring you to wear masks. But they have community,” Catherine Health, the owner of Anytime Fitness – Placerville, said

The guidelines and new criteria are giving a look at what things can be like for other counties across the state. And that brings hope.

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“I hope it sends a message to the rest of the state that with the right precautions and everyone being conscientious; we can take all of the necessary things we need to do to prevent the passing or getting COVID,” Tooraj Agahi, a Placerville resident, said.

“It’s slowly getting closer to normal,” Marrero said.

A spokesperson for Regal Theaters told CBS13 that the Placerville and El Dorado Hills location are set to reopen on Thursday, September 3.

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