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San Francisco restaurants, bars on brink of closing up for good

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Stay open, press pause or shut it down.

That’s the dire dilemma San Francisco restaurant and bar owners are facing.

The cost of doing business in the city was already high pre-pandemic, but an increasing number of food and drink establishments are on the brink of closing up for good.

With growing uncertainty mounting about when indoor dining will again be sanctioned in San Francisco, Staffan Terje says he’s made the tough decision to temporarily closed his restaurants down.

“We’re still in business, but we’re taking a break,” he said.

Terje owns Perbacco Ristorante and Bar on California Street, as well as Barbacco nextdoor.

He says take-out orders and the limited outdoor dining he offered last month just haven’t generated enough revenue to stay open.

And much like his neighbor’s at Tadich Grill, funds from the federal paycheck protection program loan he received are running low.

He’s been forced to layoff about 113 employees.

Tadich announced this week that it is pausing operations this Friday with hopes of re-opening the 171-year-old establishment down the road.

“Our landlord has been working with us, so we’re good with him,” Terje said.

Terje says he’ll likely remain closed until indoor dining returns.

“Right now, nobody knows anything,” he said.

Business owners believe they can make it through this pandemic, but they say that depends on the community’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19.

“When you’re dining out, wear the mask when the servers approach, and when anybody approaches the table,” Laurie Thomas said. “If we can do that, and continue what was a rock star result to start with in San Francisco, then we’re going to have a shot at going forward sooner.”

Robin restaurant in Hayes Valley is surviving on carry-out orders.

But it’s unclear how long this business model can be sustained.

“We’re definitely grateful to have a loyal customer base,” Restaurant manager Daniel Realin said. “However, it’s just not like how we’re used to running our business.”

A grim reminder of the trying times less than a block away from Robin.

The bar — Smuggler’s Cove —  has temporarily closed down because of the pandemic.

Another historic bar, The Stud shut down permanently at its old location in SoMa last month.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association represents about 800 food establishments.

And Executive Director Laurie Thomas says up to half of them may go out of business.

“What we need is more federal money to make it,” Thomas said.

“For all the restaurant owners out there, stay strong, and stay healthy and we will come back,” Terje said.

That’s the hope — but there are no guarantees.

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