San Francisco restaurant workers prepare for busy, and chilly, day after lockdown lifted

For the first time in more than a month, San Francisco restaurants can offer outdoor dining.

Some began opening their patio dining areas exactly at 8 a.m. Thursday. Sweet Maple on Sutter Street in lower Pacific Heights did just that. 

Workers were out early, despite the chilly temps and rain, cleaning tables, and preparing for what they hope will be a busy day. They put up umbrellas and turned on heat lamps. But they were happy to do it because for the past month and a half, restaurants in The City have been only open for takeout and delivery. 

Jenna Singer, who lives near the restaurant, was thrilled. 

"I’m really excited," she said. "I think it has been really challenging for small businesses and restaurants in the area. It has felt really depressing living in the city without seeing people outside."

San Francisco is back in the purple tier – in the state’s blueprint for a safer economy.

California counties were moved back in the color-coded tier system after being under a regional stay at home order since December.

On Monday, the Department of Health explained the decision to lift the regional stay-at-home order is based on a four-week projection of ICU capacity. Now hair and nail salons can open. Retail shops can increase capacity, Outdoor zoos and museums can also reopen. And small gatherings of up to three households are allowed outside.

City officials say they expect more visitors as they reopen.

So residents should not let their guards down – wear a mask, keep your distance and practice other safety measures.