SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — In just about a week, for a few hours a night — two blocks along Valencia Street will not be filled with parked cars.
Instead, tables, chairs and hopefully a bustling restaurant and shopping scene will take their place.
“It’s about giving small business a fighting chance to survive this pandemic,” Manny Yekutiel said.
Mission business owner Manny Yekutiel along with the Valencia Corridor Merchants Association proposed a three-month experiment.
Every Thursday through Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. — Valencia will be closed between 16th and 17th streets and 18th and 19th streets.
This way the nearby restaurants and shops can take over the parking and biking lanes to allow for outdoor seating and shopping.
“It’s gonna allow small businesses to perform their business more safely, allow people to distance out even farther and it will allow them to add capacity at the same time,” Yekutiel said.
Some residents who have been disheartened by seeing Mission District businesses boarded up and struggling say they’re on-board with the idea.
“I’m a San Francisco native so I love going out and I love going shopping and I just think that we need to have things open in a safe environment,” one woman said. “I think it’s a great idea.”
Retail shop “Often Wander” isn’t selling food or cocktails, but Sarah Larson, owner of the handmade candle and jewelry store says this idea will bring much needed energy back to Valencia.
“Valencia Street was this vibrant thing before shutdown and we kinda lost a lot of that through COVID shutdowns,” Larson said. “So it’s kinda exciting to bring attention back to this street and get people out and about.”
With no expectation of COVID-19 disappearing anytime soon, Mission business owners say safety is key.
“It is no mask no entry,” Yekutiel said. “So if you want to enjoy Valencia Street and support our merchants please come wearing a mask or boo boo you’re not going to be able to come in at all.”
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