SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — With San Francisco returning to the state’s Red Tier Wednesday, the city’s service industry has more flexibility and many business owners are feeling more confident.

For some of them, the move to the Red Tier means opening the doors for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

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“Lost a couple of windows. Was painting every day because of the graffiti, because I didn’t want to replace the windows until I was ready to open,” said Chris Dickerson, the owner of Hobson’s Choice on Haight Street.

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With no viable space for outdoor seating, Dickerson had few viable choices right from the outset of the pandemic. Wednesday morning, nearly a year after closing his doors, he had the punch bowls filled and the place ready for customers.

“Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to this day for quite a while,” Dickerson explained. “It’s been 351 days since I’ve poured a drink and had a sale. So today is a very big day.”

When the doors finally opened at noon, customers with food from the now-partnered Street Taco restaurant were ready to mark the occasion.

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“I’m here for the reopening of famous Hobson’s bar,” said SF resident John Rogalski. “It’s part of seeing Haight Street come back to life, and it’s a great thing.”

Across the city there was some more good news. Far East Cafe, Chinatown’s 100-year-old banquet hall, was making preparations for indoor dining.

Under pandemic pressure, the landmark was in jeopardy of closing late last year. One regular said he hopes the change of fortune here signals a larger trend for the city.

“That it’s starting to turn around, and there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel,” said Juan Torres. “Not just for businesses, but for tourism in general. Hopefully it brings more people back.”

Some business owners said they were already seeing evidence of that; of more people patronizing businesses and more optimism.

“I think a lot more people are getting vaccinated,” said Cristiana Bobarnac, owner of Uniq boutique. “That’s a great thing as people are more courageous now to come out and support their local retail, and engage to keep San Francisco alive and vibrant.”

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“Yeah, the uncertainty is fading,” said Rogalski. “San Francisco coming back to life is what I see going on around us now.”