By Wilson Walker

CONCORD (KPIX) — After several weeks of what felt like moving forward, this week felt like a setback. Multiple counties decided or are now considering a reopening pause. While it is another blow for some businesses, health experts support a cautious approach.

“My wife and I were talking about it and it does seem like a setback,” said Ralphie Martinez, owner of Martinez Elite Fitness. “Only because it seemed like we were on the verge, we were about to reopen.”

Contra Costa County is rethinking its reopening timeline and that means another possible setback for Ralphie Martinez. He thought he might finally be back in business come July 1.

“Then the reins were pulled back,” Martinez said. “On our business, anyway, being a gym.”

“What we really don’t want to have happen is to have to go back and shelter in place and throw away all the gains that we made since March, which are enormous,” explained UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford. “I mean we’ve avoided tens of thousands of deaths in the Bay Area.”

KPIX asked Rutherford about the week’s developments. He said that, while case numbers are rising in the Bay Area, it’s also worth looking at the rest of the country.

“In Texas and Florida, for them to backpedal, you know there’s really bad, bad news,” Rutherford said. “Here, I think it’s a much more prudent approach, a much more measured approach, just a hold on it for a while.”

No one knows yet how long the reopening timeline pause might last.

“Any guess is as good as mine,” Martinez said. “I would hope another month. That’s pushing it and that’s just not gym businesses — that’s the businesses that can’t operate with this hold.”

This is what experts warned about early in the epidemic, a reopening that might come in starts & stops, or worse.

“I think the message for everybody is, if you don’t want to have this rolled backwards, please make sure you wear your mask, stay home when you’re sick, keep social distancing and wash your hands. Those are the four things we need to have you do,” Rutherford said.

In Contra Costa County, officials will make a decision on whether to delay their reopening timeline on Monday.

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