San francisco restaurants

San Francisco restaurants react to latest indoor dining delay due to pandemic

Restaurants in San Francisco, which were given the green light for outdoor dining service last month, learned on Tuesday that they will have to wait indefinitely for indoor dining to return as the number of coronavirus cases in the state increases. Indoor dining was originally scheduled to begin July 13 in San Francisco.

Although news of the delay, announced by San Francisco Mayor London Breed at a press conference on Tuesday morning, could be financially taxing, several San Francisco leaders said they preferred the cautious approach that the city ​​adopts when it comes to indoor dining. In fact, Shawn Camacho, the co-owner of San Francisco’s only Guamanian restaurant, Prubechu, said his Mission District business would not have offered indoor dining on July 13, even if the city was going to allow it.

“We’re conflicted as business owners, but for us we’re always going to lean on the side of health and safety,” he said. “We’re seeing a big drop in people wanting to go out to dinner anyway because they’re nervous about it. We just have to respect that.

At the press conference, Breed said the previously scheduled start date of July 13 for indoor dining in the city, which would have also allowed bars to start offering outdoor service, would be delayed until what the data shows the reopening could be done in a “safe” way.

“We have no choice. We’re living in COVID,” Breed said. “What you do or don’t do impacts someone else, whether you know it or not.”

People eat outside Scoma’s restaurant on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 in San Francisco, California. daily stream of tourists, amid the coronavirus pandemic.Santiago Mejia / The Chronicle

Throughout the pandemic, restaurants in San Francisco have offered take-out and delivery service. Outdoor dining was permitted on June 12. Still, local restaurateurs were pinning their hopes on the July 13 start date, as the additional revenue stream from indoor dining could be a boon to an industry struggling during the pandemic.

Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, still plans to reopen her Union Street restaurant, Rose’s Cafe, for al fresco dining on July 14. .

“This is a very concerning situation for local restaurants,” said Thomas, who also raised the issue of customer responsibility for the proper functioning of meals in restaurants.

“One of the things we need in this situation is for customers to be prepared to wear masks. We cannot put this off,” she said. “We need it if we want to be able to reopen sooner rather than later.”

San Francisco officials’ decision is similar to Napa County officials who said Monday the county will have to stop indoor dining and close wineries and tasting rooms due to rising cases. of coronavirus in the region.

Massimiliano Conti, the chef and co-owner of La Ciccia in San Francisco, said eating indoors would have given his restaurant a much-needed financial boost, given his restaurant has no outdoor dining space. He also reiterated the importance for Bay Area residents to follow safety protocols, including at local restaurants.

“We’re in this situation because people don’t see what a health issue it is,” he said. “Before anything can change, people need to take responsibility for their own actions. If that doesn’t happen, I’d understand if we had to shut everything down. Something has to change to stop this virus.

Justin Phillips is a writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: jphillips@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @JustMrPhillips