San Francisco restaurants brace for more restrictions

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco city officials are hinting at more possible rollback announcements in the coming days, as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations continue rising.

While outdoor dining is still allowed in the state’s current purple tier guidelines, many restaurants are bracing for the possibility of pausing outdoor dining.

There’s no official word of any changes to outdoor dining but city officials say they can’t rule the possibility out.

For many of these restaurants, they say outdoor dining is what keeps the lights on, keeps people employed, and keeps the doors open.

Not having it could be the nail on the coffin for many more restaurants in the city.

“Without outdoor dining, game over for a lot of people,” Laurie Thomas said.

The harsh reality for many restaurants in San Francisco if the state or city decides to move forward with more rollbacks that would put a pause on outdoor dining.

Laurie Thomas is the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which represents the large restaurant community in San Francisco. 

While Thomas says there have been no changes to outdoor dining from the city yet, she and many other restaurant owners are preparing for the possibility.

“Again personally we didn’t order any wine this week right? Multiple thousand dollar order just pull it straight back. Not going to do it right? Really rationing back all the food buys, all the other miscellaneous buys. Called the cleaning company and said heads up if this happens we’re gonna cancel the contract, hibernate the contract soon after. I mean these are ripple effects that will immediately flow as that did in March to the economy,” Thomas said. 

If outdoor dining is paused, she says it will also impact the people who live and work in this city.

“One of the concerns is how do we keep people eating and being able to live? And I’m not overexaggerating that,” Thomas said. 

Something Wayfare Tavern partner, Tony Marcell, is also concerned about.

He says the restaurant employed nearly 100 people pre-pandemic but their staff has since shrunk nearly 70% to just over 30 people.

With the possibility of pausing outdoor dining, he says many businesses will have to make tough decisions.

“I would suspect that some owners might and operators might just consider shutting down and seeing what it looks like to get through the next wave this harder time that’s probably going to last 6 to 8 weeks,” Marcell said.

A decision that popular long-standing restaurants like Tadich Grill already made.

The restaurant had plans to re-open on November 9th when San Francisco was supposed to move to 50% capacity for indoor dining. 

When those plans changed, Tadich Grill decided to remain in hibernation for the time being.

News of possible rollbacks comes just a day after San Francisco’s curfew went into effect — which starts each night at 10 p.m. and lasts through 5 a.m.

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