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San Francisco officials demand explanation for outdoor dining ban

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — The outcry over the ban on outdoor dining continues to grow.

Now some San Francisco elected officials will be holding an emergency meeting next week, in order to demand that public health officials clearly explain the reasons why.

Parklets stand empty on 18th street in Potrero Hill as outdoor dining has been shut down under the new health order.

Tuesday, a resolution will be voted on at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors at an emergency hearing, calling on the state to be more transparent about the reasons behind the ban — and to urge them consider reopening it as soon as possible. 

It’s something Supervisor Matt Haney supports.

“And we also need to have a conversation about the ways that this could lead people to go inside and do more risky activities,” Haney said. “Everything that I’ve seen has shown that the single most risky thing you can do to get this virus is to be inside with other people especially in gatherings, I haven’t seen any data at all to show that outdoor especially with one or two other people dining we’re going on a walk to a park is contributing to the spread at all.”

Push back on the ban on outdoor dining is happening in many places around the state.

On Friday, a group of Sacramento lawmakers signed a letter to the Alcoholic Beverage Control to immediately cease enforcement of the ban following a ruling from a San Diego Superior Court judge that prompted county leaders to stop enforcement there.  

The owner of a Martinez bar and restaurant is one of several establishments suing Contra Costa County for enforcing the ban ahead of the state last week. He says he can’t make it on take out only and has had to lay off staff.

“It’s just me to cook now. I went to five employees to two, and one’s a single mom, how is she supposed to pay her bills? She has rent to pay, she’s a little kid, my business like others it’s like a family we’re here to look out for each other,” Corey Katz said. “And how can I look out for my family if I’m being handcuffed.”

But UCSF professor of Epidemiology says there is science behind the ban.

“People are taking their masks off they have to take their masks off to eat and drink. And if you’re mixing households those are transmission risks,” he said. “If you want to go out which is your household, OK, I could imagine something like that. But with 52,000 cases yesterday reported yesterday, this is a time for less compromised and not more compromise unfortunately.”

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