San Francisco restaurants struggle to stay open amid coronavirus pandemic

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – More than half of San Francisco’s store fronts are closed according to the Chamber of Commerce’s latest study.

The pandemic hit the downtown financial district area the hardest, as 84% of its storefronts downtown remain closed and many will not reopen.

Down the street from Jackson Square, on the outskirts of the Financial District you normally see the hustle and bustle of the business district during the day, but ever since the coronavirus it’s turned into a ghost town. 

KRON4 employees who help put together these newscasts are some of the few who still return to an office in the city, which has a trickle down effect on the surrounding businesses.

“We’ve been here for 21 years and we’ve been through two recessions before this one and this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” Ladle and Leaf owner, Steve Sarver, says the pandemic’s knocking out businesses left and right.

“It has a huge impact on his customer base in San Francisco’s Financial District…where city workers usually stop by for breakfast, lunch or dinner during a normal work week, but now that’s all changed with offices remaining closed,” said Saver.

The owner adds, “Here at the Galleria and throughout the Financial District, it seems like a vast majority of businesses aren’t even open. They’re just waiting or maybe they shut down permanently. We don’t know but most people aren’t going to be able to hang on much longer.”

San Francisco’s Ladle & Leaf location at Crocker Galleria is where the store first opened 21 years ago. It’s one of seven Financial District locations.

Saver explains, “Right now we’re doing about 20 percent of the business we were doing prior to the pandemic and that’s just at this one location. Our other locations are closed and there’s just not a lot of people here.”

The owner adds they’ve also cut their costs, scaled back in staff and are working with their landlords, but making those adjustments will only help if customers continue to come in, something that’s changed from reality to wishful thinking.

The Chamber of Commerce says restaurant sales across the city were down by as much as 84% in July 2020 compared to the previous year.

And the numbers are even more grim for businesses like bars, night clubs, and entertainment facilities.

Meanwhile 84% of all storefronts downtown are now closed and many won’t re-open.

Saver holds on to hope that city leaders will help get the District back on track, “Will business ever be the same in the Financial District? That’s really up to our leaders and I’m counting on the leaders to recognize the vibrancy of San Francisco, they need to figure out how to get people back in the Financial District.”

With more than 1,300 storefronts in the city remaining closed, the number will continue to grow for the duration of the pandemic. 

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