SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – San Francisco became the first Bay Area county to move to the state’s orange tier Tuesday, meaning restaurants and other indoor businesses can reopen with restrictions.
La Mar on the Embarcadero says it’s ready to finally serve up its Peruvian cuisine indoors.
Under the new rules, restaurants and bars serving meals can reopen for indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, up to 100 people.
“We are very, very, very happy, so after six months. Fortunately, we have been working right, we have the patio,” said Executive Chef Victoriano Lopez.
Starting Wednesday, that means La Mar can accommodate 37 more customers indoors. Tables have been placed at least 6 feet apart.
Masks must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking. Restaurants must do a health check of diners before they’re seated indoors or outdoors.
Waygu-focused Japanese restaurant Gozu in SoMa says it’s been working hard to welcome customers back to a safe and clean environment.
Temperature checks at the door, new HEPA filters, and a UV light sanitization system are among the changes.
“It’s kind of been realized that this is going to go through a series of progressions to get back to any kind of semblance of normal,” said Executive Chef and Owner Marc Zimmerman. “So here, we welcome anything we can get obviously. Is it enough to run a successful business for an extended period of time? Most likely not.”
Zimmerman is also relying on outdoor dining and bento meal kits to boost the business, particularly because not everyone is ready to dine indoors.
“I don’t feel too comfortable with it, I actually just came from Maui, where they have indoor dining, where it feels a lot safer because there’s barely any cases,” said Vish Hari of San Francisco. “I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable with it. SF’s a really dense place.”
Other restaurants told KPIX 5 they are waiting for the city to release final guidelines before they reopen, so they can make sure they’re compliant. Many say they’re simply not quite ready to do so.
Meanwhile other businesses in San Francisco say they’re being left behind. Currently, gyms and fitness studios can only operate indoors at 10 percent capacity.
“Fitness is so key, and that’s why we just keep pushing, like not 10 percent Mayor Breed, 25 percent,” said San Francisco Independent Fitness Studio Coalition spokesperson Dave Karraker. “Indoor dining can do it at 25 percent, indoor fitness can do it at 25 percent.”
Places of worship can also open indoors at 25 percent capacity starting Wednesday. Indoor shopping centers and malls can also operate with 50% capacity, upon approval of an updated health and safety plan. Previously, they were allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity.