SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — This wet weather comes just as restaurants were able to reopen outdoor dining.
In San Francisco, businesses can officially start serving customers outside in parklets on Thursday, but many wonder if it’s worth it in all this rain.
When restaurant owners got the word earlier this week that they could reopen, that excitement was quickly dampened by this wet weather.
The owner of Roses Cafe says they’re actually waiting until Feb. 10 to reopen — but the rain isn’t the only reason.
“Between the weather and turning everything back on, it’s not gonna happen instantly,” Laurie Thomas said.
Thomas is the executive director for the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. She also owns Roses Cafe and Terza in Cow Hollow.
Both of her spots are still boarded up Wednesday night, even though outdoor dining is allowed to resume Thursday.
Thomas says the wet weather is one reason they’re holding off — and after receiving rejections on PPP and grant relief applications — so is a lack of funds.
“The round two of the Payroll Protection Program has been a complete mess,” Thomas said. “We don’t wanna bring people on board without knowing if you’re gonna make payroll that pay period.”
It’s a similar story for Family Cafe in North Beach, whose owners have decided to stick to take out, until they know people will be comfortable sitting outside.
“I’m not sold that having a roof on a parklet that enough people would come out that would make it that worth it to us,” Jessica Furui said. “I mean, I’ve applied for 10 grants. I have not gotten a single one.”
Though many parklets will sit drenched in the rain — some, like Il Casaro next door — have roofs and did receive funding.
Owner Francesco Covucci says he’s ready to reopen, rain or shine.
“Today I was approved for the second PPP loan, so it’s great,” Covucci said. “I can be able to invite people back and start to open the door tomorrow with old employees.”
While this round of outdoor dining will bring some reprieve — the restaurant owners all agree — they can’t go through another shut down.
“We really hope this opening again is a once and forever and we don’t have to go through the closure again,” Covucci said.
“It’s hard to flip flop, because people need to depend on an income,” Furui said.
“I know that I personally and many people I’ve talked to, we can’t afford a third closure,” Thomas said. “It’s really expensive.”
Thomas said of course the ultimate goal is to get back into the red reopening tier where they can open indoor dining in some capacity.
In fact, if enough restaurants delay their outdoor reopening, case rates will continue to fall and maybe we can get there sooner.
Another thing Laurie wanted to remind people of is if you do plan to start outdoor dining again — she wants patrons to remember to put on their masks anytime a waiter comes to your table. She knows it’s annoying, but it will help keep everyone safe.