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San Francisco leaders push to reopen bars earlier than August

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco leaders are now pushing to reopen bars sooner throughout the city.

Supervisor Matt Haney says he’s working with the mayor’s office to allow bars to open before mid-August which is the original target date set by the city.

For the first time in a while, bar owners are getting a glimmer of hope now that city leaders are openly on board with reopening sooner.

At Anina, they just started serving cocktails to go from the window on Wednesday but have a large outdoor patio that the owner says is just dying to be used.

He hopes to open sooner than later, like his neighboring restaurants.

“What we’re hoping for is that the city understand that there are hundreds of responsible bar operators in the city that are ready and eager to open their doors in safe and responsible ways,” Anthony Healy-London said. 

Anthony Healy-London owns several bars in San Francisco, including Brass Tacks and Anina in Hayes Valley.

At Anina, Healy-London says it’s a perfect space for socially distancing with a large outdoor patio waiting to be used.

“We have the space and the ability and we’re with all of the expertise to operate just as safely and responsibly as the restaurant next door that we work with throughout the year,” Healy-London said. 

According to the city’s current timeline, bars without a kitchen can’t reopen until mid-August, however, judging by San Francisco’s response to the pandemic, Supervisor Matt Haney says it’s time to readjust.

“I think that our indicators in what we’ve seen allow for that. Many of the other counties that are reopening right now are at where San Francisco is or a little bit behind in terms of cases and hospitalizations,” Haney said. 

Haney says he’s now working with the mayor’s office to move to a sooner reopen date for indoor dining and bar reopens.

“I do think there’s a lot of support and a lot of consensus in speaking to the mayor’s office, in speaking to other supervisors to move quicker than what has been put in place right now as it relates to bars, as it relates to indoor dining but we still need to get the state to give us that variance like a lot of other counties already have been so we can move faster than the state timeline,” Haney said. 

To move forward, Haney says the city would need permission from the state.

Until then, owners like Healy-London are planning to find food partners in the event that the city allows them to reopen for outdoor service

“We are discussing with several food vendors and trying to find out what will work best so we’re prepared to follow those guidelines as well. That’s it. Let us open. We’re ready!” Healy-London said. 

The city would allow bars to do this in its latest draft of the shared spaces program where currently restaurants can use public space like sidewalks for outdoor seating.

For bars to participate, there’s several conditions to name a few, the bar would need to serve food and it would also need an approved permit, listing a specific food partner.

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