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Non-essential employees return to work in San Francisco

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – Some non-essential office workers can start showing back up to work today because San Francisco is in the yellow tier.

However, it doesn’t look like the new phase of reopening is having much of an impact.

Valerie Chieng has been selling bouquets at the flower cart off Market St. downtown for close to 30 years and says business is still way down.

And while the city has now given nonessential businesses the green light to bring in office workers at 25% capacity, she has not seen much of a change today, at all.

“This is 5% of what downtown used to be,” Chieng said.

And that is having a major impact on mom and pop businesses that rely on the lunch crowd.

“It’s really hard, I just talked to my neighbor across the street, they said because there’s nobody, downtown might as well not open. They don’t know what kind of supplies to buy, who they’re gonna bring in. They’re better off closing,” said Chieng.

South of Market, the manager of Oren’s Hummus had just a few customers eating around lunchtime, a small fraction of their pre-pandemic lunchtime crowd.

“On a normal lunchtime workday, say Tuesday around 1 o’clock, we’ll have a line around the corner over here. And while I don’t see that happening for the rest of this year, I think we’re a well-established restaurant. I believe by next year maybe January/ February will start getting there again,” said Hellen Ferencevich.

Several of  restaurants nearby are boarded up.

Mehdi Star, an office worker, says he’s still working from home 3-4 days a week. He doesn’t think the new phase of reopening will make much of a difference.

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