Sources from City Hall and the local restaurant lobby say that San Francisco will not be reopening restaurants for indoor dining on July 13 as previously planned — a revelation that is not surprising after Mayor London Breed put the breaks on opening outdoor bars 10 days ago due to rising case counts and COVID hospitalization rates around the Bay Area.
While the city has not officially commented on or announced the news, both Eater and the San Francisco Business Times are reporting that indoor dining will not be proceeding — something that will surely be disappointing to business owners across the city who have been gearing up for this next phase of reopening, hoping to begin making some revenue again.
The Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA) issued a statement early Monday saying, "Well-placed city sources have confirmed that the July 13th date for the opening of indoor dining will not happen." The formal announcement is expected today or Tuesday, and reportedly no future date has been set to reopen restaurants that don't have outdoor seating.
The July 13 target date was first announced on May 28, when Mayor Breed also announced that bars would not be reopening until mid-August, and hair salons, realtors, and barbershops were originally going to reopen July 13 as well by appointment only.
All of these dates have been switched around as the pandemic picture improved and then grew worse during the course of June, and as new cases have skyrocketed in multiple California counties. Significant upticks have resulted in several Bay Area counties landing on the state's watch list, although overall numbers in the Bay Area remain far below those seen in Southern California.
"Yesterday we saw 103 [new] cases," Breed said on the 26th. "On June 15, when we first reopened outdoor dining and in-store retail, we had 20 [new cases]. At our current rate, the number could double rapidly."
As of Monday, the nine-county Bay Area is poised to top 30,000 cumulative cases, with just over 500 patients currently hospitalized and 602 total deaths since March. San Francisco has had just under 4,000 confirmed cases to date, with 211 new cases added over the holiday weekend.
In Solano County, where indoor dining resumed in early June, restaurants had to close indoor spaces last week on orders from Governor Gavin Newsom. Solano is one of 19 counties on the state's watch list that were ordered to close all bars and restaurants as part of a dimming in Newsom's "dimmer switch" reopening process. Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties are also on the list, but they had not reopened any indoor eating and drinking establishments. And Santa Clara County may have moved ahead too quickly with outdoor dining as well, with state agents sowing confusion on Friday by raiding several restaurants and telling them to close.
Marin County was added to that watch list over the weekend, prompting restaurants that had reopened for indoor dining on June 29 to close again days later, as KPIX reports.
Photo: Boris Dunand