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Bay Area restaurants switch to take out, deliveries only

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – For the next three weeks, eating out will also not be an option across the Bay Area.

Shelter-in-place orders ban dining in at restaurants and bars.

One of the industries hit hardest by the economic impact of COVID-19 is the hospitality business. 

With San Francisco’s new mandate that restaurants move to a takeout and delivery only model, local businesses are left trying to adjust.

Max’s at the Opera, also known as Max’s Opera Cafe, has been a San Francisco institution since it opened in November 1982. 

Serving up New York delicatessen style fare and classic comfort food, it attracts a mix of opera, symphony and ballet patrons, along with devoted regulars.

“I’ve been coming here for about thirty years, I live across the street, I’ve been here about 30 years up the street, and about 5 years,” patrons said. 

Now Harriet, Dennis, and David are left with only one option to enjoy Max’s takeout.

Typically, takeout accounts for about 15% of Max’s total business, whether that’s customers picking up on their own, or using a service like Doordash or GrubHub. 

Harriet says she plans to order takeout from Max’s but is worried about the long term effects on society.

“I just feel like so many people are going to get into very bad situations because of the virus,” Harriet said.  

That’s one of the reasons Max’s owner Mehrdad Hejazian plans to continue offering takeout for as long as there’s a need.

Not only will it enable him to continue to employ at least some staff but many of Max’s longtime customers are older or disabled and rely on the restaurant’s meals. 

Hejazian estimates about a 70% decrease in business in the last week due to COVID-19 concerns but he’s hopeful that Max’s takeout services will fill a need in the community.

He said he saw an immediate uptick in orders following San Francisco’s shelter in place directive and wants to continue with the service as long as there’s a demand.

A sign says open for now, but with so much changing so rapidly during this time, no one knows for sure how long it will stay that way. 

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