As winter weather moved into San Francisco, Mayor London Breed had some chilly news for restaurant owners and their patrons. “Sadly, beginning the end of the day Friday, we will need to eliminate indoor dining” Breed said.
The change comes as COVID-19 cases surge nationwide. Grant Colfax is the Director of Health for the City and County of San Francisco. “We have seen cases increase by 250% since early October" Colfax said.
That’s about 80 new cases every day in San Francisco.
A study published Tuesday in the journal Nature shows that a small number of places such as restaurants account for most infections, essentially because they can be crowded and people tend to linger.
But restaurant owners are upset by Mayor Breed’s decision to close indoor dining. Executive Director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Laurie Thomas said in an email:
“With winter on the way, limited indoor dining represented the only real hope for many restaurants to survive the next three months.”
To help restaurants get through these tough times, San Francisco announced a $3.5 million expansion of its small business loan program this week. Altogether the city says it has identified more than $20 million in grants and loans for small businesses since the start of the pandemic.
Still, an economic impact report by the online review site Yelp found that thousands of businesses have closed since the city first issues its shelter-in-place ordinance back in March.