San Francisco restaurants see boost in business as they open for outdoor dining

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – A break from the rain brought people out to restaurants.

Outdoor dining is allowed again in San Francisco but many businesses struggled setting up outdoor parklets during the storm.

San Francisco gradually reopened outdoor dining yesterday, there is definitely more foot traffic here tonight.

A boost for small businesses in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood after being closed for weeks, or operating takeout and delivery only.

“It’s been a great night. I think people couldn’t wait to go out. We are over 100 reservations which is actually unusual and it’s a great beginning,” owner of Il Casaro Francesco Covucci said. 

“We’re happy it’s back. It’s been tough for businesses so we hope this will be a big benefit,” resident Kody Ferguson said. 

San Francisco shut down businesses on December 4th, two weeks before the state mandate, the governor lifted the regional stay at home order for the Bay Area, the timing coinciding with a powerful storm that walloped the region with heavy rain, making it challenging for restaurants to serve customers outside.

Friday night, a break in the rain brought people out.

“This is the first time in a long time and it feels great. we’re free again,” resident Steven Beus said. 

The city’s COVID cases rate, ICU capacity and death rate are better than most but with restrictions relaxing city leaders caution not to let your guard down.

Health experts say people often forget that you can be asymptomatic and still spread the virus.

“Please wear masks, please maintain social distancing, please be very, very careful about mixing with cross households. This has gotten away from us a couple of times before. Let’s not let it get away from us a third time while we’re in the midst of trying to get everyone vaccinated and when your turn comes to get vaccinated please go get it,” Dr. George Rutherford, UCSF Infectious Disease Expert, said. 

Diners we spoke to say they are being cautious.

“This group that you see at this table, we’ve been pretty close knit, we’ve agreed to only see each other so we’ve been able to keep exposure to other people down and it’s been great,” Beus said. 

“I feel like everyone kind of has their own personal ideals towards the risk involved. We just try to stay safe, wear masks and keep our distance,” Ferguson said. 

Public health officials acknowledge the damage health orders have done to the economy but credit the strict orders with saving more lives.

San Francisco restaurants have been struggling long before the pandemic.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association says restaurants cannot afford to reopen this time around after dwindling ppp small business loans.

Back at North Beach, restaurants taking it day by day.

Francesco Covucci is the owner of Il Casaro Pizzeria.

“We got the news to open on Tuesday but we need to get going so it’s good and nice to get all the employees to come back to work,” Covucci said. 

Other restaurants plan to reopen for outdoor dining next month – it takes about a week to bring staff back and order supplies. 

Meanwhile, hair and nail salons, outdoor museums and zoos, outdoor family entertainment also got the green light to reopen with restrictions.

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