California one week away from ditching tier system, reopening state

Businesses are gearing up for June 15, the target date Gov. Gavin Newsom set for a full reopening of the state's economy. 

While that date is rapidly approaching, restaurants and bars still have a lot of work ahead of them to get ready.

Bars and restaurants in San Francisco say they need clear guidance to make reopening a success.

Laurie Thomas, who runs a number of restaurants in San Francisco and heads up the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, says she needs clarification if what the state says will be the law of the land, or if there will be different restrictions on the local level. 

"We hope to hear that we're going to reopen, said Thomas. "So we know the state sets its guidance, and then the city gets to weigh in and say if its going to match that or be stricter. So, we're hoping they're going to match that."

In the meantime, she's gearing up and looking for staff. 

With outdoor and indoor dining at 100% she and other restaurants are scrambling to get some of the basics in place. 

"I personally am short 16 chairs, because we're using our inside chairs outside, and nobody can get chairs," said Thomas. "I was on the phone with Miami today and they were like, 'Uh, it's on a container ship from God knows where.'"

Duncan Ley co-owns the bar Soda Popinski's and a number of other businesses in San Francisco.  

He says he's also hoping that state and city officials can all get on the same page, to offer clear guidance on how June 15th will work. But, he says for now some things to which we've become accustomed during the pandemic will remain in place. 

"Our staff will continue to mask, and we will continue to keep doing what we're doing until we get real concrete guidelines for what we should be doing," said Ley.

He says one of the big issues for him and other small businesses remains getting staff in place. 

"So, to roll back to full capacity, with he outside as well, that seems a bit overwhelming," said Ley. "So, I don't know that we're going back to 99 capacity inside, you know? It's just, we don't have the staff."

San Francisco's Office of Economic and Workforce Development hosted a webinar Tuesday evening. In that meeting, Mayor London Breed said San Francisco will join the state and CDC guidance in fully reopening.

There will, she said, still be some restrictions in place for large-scale mega-events, and some restrictions at shelters, nursing facilities and other high-risk settings. Mega-events are defined as greater than 5,000 people in an indoor setting or 10,000 or more for outdoor events. 

Fully vaccinated people won't have to wear masks per the city's health order, except where required by federal state and local rules. 

The other exception could be workplaces and local businesses. Federal guidelines are requiring masks on public transit through September.