Cinco de Mayo boosts business for restaurants in San Francisco’s Mission District

In San Francisco’s Mission District, the streets are packed with people, stores are busy and people are lining up at restaurants.

Forced to close their doors over a year ago when the spread of COVID-19 across the country prompted a lockdown, many restaurants are hoping Cinco de Mayo is a turning point for their businesses.

"Oh year we’ve been busy all this morning when we opened," said Miguel Ruiz, a cook at La Taqueria on Mission & 25th Streets.

Ruiz was talking about the busy rush of customers on Wednesday, which was unlike last year when the restaurant was closed amid the pandemic.

"I’m excited especially too, cause it’s my birthday month so I’m excited things are starting to open up," said Mission resident Erika Pleitez.

For many restaurants like La Taqueria in the Bay Area and nationwide, it will take a lot more than just a busy day to recoup the loss wrought over the last year.

President Joe Biden used Cinco de Mayo, a day that’s become popular for friends and families to visit local eateries, to announce his administration is offering help to shore up the restaurant industry, one of the hardest-hit sectors of the American economy during the pandemic.

"And to make sure the relief is distributed fairly. We also set aside funds for the smallest restaurants, bars, food trucks, and many family-owned restaurants that haven't gotten any help to date. And they need it," said President Biden on Wednesday.

Money for the administration's so-called "Restaurant Revitalization Fund" comes from the American Rescue Plan that was passed by Congress in March.

And in a sign that things are starting to turn around, the announcement from the president comes on the same week it was announced San Francisco was joining the yellow tier, which will allow for more seating inside restaurants.