San Francisco mayor lays out timeline for reopening indoor dining

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced plans Friday for how restaurants in the city will be allowed to reopen indoor dining options for their customers.

Breed says once the city is classified as "orange" on the State's tiered system, restaurants can reopen indoor dining at 25% capacity, up to 100 people, given the establishment meets the criteria and is approved by the city to reopen.

The earliest that indoor dining could reopen would be at the end of September, once the state reevaluates the city using its tiered system.

If local coronavirus cases and hospitalizations do not remain stable, San Francisco may not meet the criteria of the "orange" tier and will remain in the "red" tier.

“We appreciate our vibrant restaurant community’s sacrifice throughout this pandemic, and we want to thank them for their cooperation and patience that has brought us to this point,” said Dr. Colfax. “While health officials continue to monitor the virus, we also need San Franciscans to continue practicing the health and safety precautions needed for us to reopen our city gradually.” 

“Restaurants have been hit hard by COVID-19. Many have adapted with takeout and outdoor dining, but they’ve still been barely hanging on and, sadly, some have closed for good,” said Mayor Breed. “We are laying out the next steps to make sure restaurants are ready to reopen as safely as possible. I want to thank the Golden Gate Restaurant Association for working with us to get to this point. Helping our restaurant industry survive this pandemic is a key part of our longer-term economic recovery.”

Restaurant owner and head of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association Laurie Thomas says work has been underway for weeks to get to this point. Work will continue in the weeks to come to plan for the possibility of reopening up to 25% of indoor capacity for restaurants.

Thomas saying that in combination with what's currently allowed, that could be an important step to help restaurants survive.

"You've got the take out and delivery, then you've got the outdoor dining if you can do that," said Thomas. "And if you add the incremental indoor dining. Now, maybe if you look at my numbers are 45% to 50% of normal. Maybe you get to 65% or 75% of normal. You're still underwater, but you're moving in the right direction."

Some restaurants like Southpark Cafe say they're in no rush to resume indoor dining. They want to make sure that once they reopen they can stay open.

"I think indoor dining would be a great option for restaurants if they can do it right now," said Peter Mosqueda from the cafe. "As for me, the location here, it's a pretty narrow space. So, I'm not at a space where I would feel comfortable opening just for the sake of my staff my customers and the community here."

The mayor and director of public health once again stressed that this timeline, this lifeline for some restaurants depends entirely on residents following public safety health orders, like wearing masks and maintaining appropriate distance.

The mayor also announced in-classroom learning with limited capacity for TK-6th grade can resume on Sept. 21 for schools that have submitted a safety plan and recieved approval from the city.

Indoor museums and galleries may submit their safety plans, and may also reopen on Sept. 21, given their safety plan is approved.

The city continues to evaluate ways to resume other activities, including nightclubs, bars, movie theaters, and offices.