Merced County remains lone CA county in purple tier

The mayor blames the lack of tier movement on a backlog at the state level, which he says suddenly added a few hundred positive cases.

Video Transcript

DALE YURONG: Little Oven Pizza in downtown Merced sits empty inside because Merced County is still in the purple tier. Owner Daniel Verechia says business is down 30% because he can only offer takeout orders.

DANIEL VERECHIA: It's difficult when my dining room has been closed and I'm not able to have customers coming in and dining.

DALE YURONG: That won't happen until the county reaches the red tier. It's been a difficult year for Verechia, and he doesn't pay close attention to the statewide tiers.

DANIEL VERECHIA: I'm of the school where I'm going to hear about it want to hear about it. I think that I'm not going to really make any big moves until I know that the movie theater is going to be reopening and the playhouse is going to be reopening.

DALE YURONG: Merced Mayor Matthew Serrato was among those having lunch outside. Serrato blames the lack of tier movement on a backlog at the state level which he says suddenly added a few hundred positive cases.

MATTHEW SERRATO: The vast, vast majority of them were older cases from the past few weeks that had been delayed in the lab on the day before we were supposed to go back into red.

DR. SALVADOR SANDOVAL: It dumped, I believe, about 180 cases on the weekend. So it looked like our case rate had actually gone up but it had not.

DALE YURONG: It's been frustrating for North Valley residents to see other Valley counties start to open up businesses. But they believe they'll soon see some movement.

RUDOLPH HERNANDEZ: We are going to open up eventually, if people just hold out a little bit more. I know that's all you hear is a little bit more. And then you get to a certain point and they say a little bit longer, and it seems like there's no light at the end of the tunnel. But there really is light at the end of the tunnel. We just have to hang in there. Treat everybody with respect

DALE YURONG: Despite the purple tier restrictions, the Regal Hollywood Merced and the Regal UA Regency have announced plans to reopen next month. Dale Yurong, ABC30 Action News.