MARIN COUNTY (KPIX 5) — Skyrocketing coronavirus cases and the closure of indoor dining in parts of the Bay Area have left some restaurant owners wondering if they will be able to survive into next year.

As clouds gather for the next round of rain in the region, another storm is on the horizon for many. A financial one, as Bay Area businesses like the Lighthouse Cafe are forced back outside by the spike in COVID cases.

“We got a couple of big canopies and are setting them up now and will see if that can give us a little business at least. But it’s very challenging,” said Lighthouse Cafe owner Gerner Aneresen.

The pandemic has already taken a toll on many Bay Area businesses that were shuttered during months sheltering in place. The prospect of finishing out the year in the red or even purple tier may mark the end of even more businesses.

But Marin County Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis says the temporary halt to indoor dining is an essential move to stop the spread.

“We know that that’s an environment where we could see more transmission and more cases,” said Willis. “And if we get further behind, we have a deeper hole to dig ourselves out of and it could be much more prolonged.”

Marin, San Mateo and San Francisco counties are all back in the Red Tier. The rest of the Bay Area has returned to the most restrictive Purple Tier, which means restaurants, regardless of location, have to operate outside only.

Heading into the rainy season, many operators say they’ve had to make last-minute purchases and arrangements just to stay open for as long as the weather will allow.

“We are going to be swimming in red ink for sure. It’s going to be tough,” said Aneresen.

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