SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) — A popular destination for diners and shoppers reopened in downtown San Jose Tuesday as San Pedro Square Market welcomed customers for the first time in over two months.
It was back to business, but certainly not business as usual as restaurants and stores opened for curbside pickup.
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The market itself remains closed to diners, but ten of the mom and pop restaurants inside were happy to see people come for meals.
Pizza shop owner Jenneke de Vries literally applauded her customers on the first full day of reopening.
“They’re flying out the door!” she said as customers picked up their orders.
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It’s been nine weeks since she shut down the shop, Pizza Boca Lupo.
For her, the first signs of the pandemic afterlife were good ones. She managed to keep all of her employees. On Tuesday, they were busy.
“Oh we are so excited! Just to be able to serve pizzas to the neighborhood again. We’re just super thrilled,” de Vries said.
People order online and pickup their food in person in a carefully managed walk-up setting. That includes distancing markings, a separate entrance and exit and a mandatory mask rule.
“It is a significant change. We’ve gone from being the social hub of downtown San Jose to offering pickup and delivery services,” said Tara Santurri, Events and Marketing Manager for San Pedro Square Market.
It’s a welcome a reopening for customers who’ve grown weary of a stay at home, eat at home existence.
“It’s nice to know they’re still open because this is one of the places I like to come for lunch,” said one customer who came by with her mom to pick up orders of pho.
“It’s just a little different, but we just have to keep positive that’s all,” her mom said.
But it’s still a struggle for restaurants to make a profit with empty dining rooms, and for workers to make a living without tips.
“The hardest thing is to get employees to come back because they’re making more money on unemployment,” said Christopher Kohler, General Manager at the Old Wagon.
Kohler said his restaurant is restarting with a new and smaller menu, but right now profits barely pay for staying open.
“We’ve been here for over ten years. We don’t want to let something like this shut us down,” Kohler said.