For some restaurants, latest shutdown could be a death blow

Businesses in five Bay Area counties including San Francisco will be forced to either close their doors or limit service starting Sunday night at 10 o'clock.

That's when the city's latest COVID-related stay-at-home order goes into effect. Closures include hair and nail salons.

Outdoor services for restaurants and bars banned until at least January 4.

At Pearl Restaurant in the Richmond District, owner Jack Murphy created an outdoor dining space after the first shelter-in-place order in March.

It includes the installation of heaters on the side of the building which costs $22,000.

With outdoor dining gone as of Sunday night, Murphy anticipates revenues to be down by at least two-thirds.

"It's a lot of unknowns and uncertainties. It can give you a lot of anxiety for sure," Murphy said.

In the South of Market neighborhood, Phil Chen, owner of Alchemist Bar and Lounge, said holiday decorations were put up recently, along with a new roof for his parklet.

More employees were brought back. More food purchased.

Now, the city gave short notice for this shutdown.

"It's really crushing for us because there's so much invested in it. For the city, it might just be an announcement. But for us, it's not like a light switch that can just be shut down," said Chen.

He may close his doors for the duration of the stay-at-home order.

"It's either take-out and delivery or go into hibernation and hope for the best in January," said Chen.

Some patrons say the ban on outdoor dining is excessive.

"People still need to live their lives, as long as you take precautions," said Jessica Xavier of San Francisco.

In the Richmond District, Mourad Lahlou, the owner of Aziza, said he initially heard the city was shutting down outdoor dining Saturday.

"We lobbied really hard. We pushed the mayor's office and the supes to extend it to at least Sunday night because we already placed orders in for the weekend," said Lahlou.

He plans to offer takeout for the next week or two to customers whose reservations he had to cancel.

"There was disbelief. There was anger. There is anxiety. Today, it's just numbness," Lahlou said.  

Back at Pearl, the owner plans to stay open for takeout.

"Our grandparents had to get drafted and go fight wars. That was their sacrifice they had to do. We have to shutdown normal operations for a couple of months and wear a masks. I'm not going to cry about it," Murphy said.

The restaurant and bar owners say this year has been a difficult journey. Now, they have to start from square one. They hope this will be the last time they'll have to shut down.