Citing recent breakthrough infections among staff, a growing list of Bay Area restaurants and bars have now closed (for a bit) out of an abundance of caution — though many of them plan on reopening soon.

With COVID-19 infections on the rise, all of which are now mostly caused by the highly communicable Delta variant, San Francisco and other cities in the Bay Area are having to adapt under the pressure. Though indoor mask mandates are reinstated for seven Bay Area counties — as well as for the City of Berkeley — breakthrough infections continue happening.

Some of those outlier cases are among staff at local eateries and bars, prompting the affected businesses to temporarily close their doors.

In a report by KPIX, a number of local gastronomy hubs, like Aziza, have elected to shutter after staff members tested positive for COVID-19. Per the news outlet, it appears that all of these infections are breakthrough cases among vaccinated individuals.

“We really went out of our way to make sure that we sanitized everything and followed all the rules for 14 months, we had no issues,” Managing Partner of Aziza Scott Chilcutt told KPIX. But after a guest of the restaurants later reported they came down with COVID-19, the entire staff was quickly tested for the disease; three of them turned out to be positive for COVID-19.


“We opened up again in March, required all of our staff to be vaccinated, and to have this happen now when we were already running so short-staffed, it’s pretty heartbreaking," Chilcutt continued. The two-plus week closure of the restaurant will cost the business an estimated $75K in revenue — funds that are greatly needed after the past year's struggles.

Despite the financial sting, Chilcutt is adamant that shuttering the business temporarily is the right, responsible thing to do.

"It’s costly not just for the business, but for our staff who lost their income for two weeks," Chilcutt added. "But ultimately, it was the well-being and safety of our staff and our guests."

Aziza is far from the only restaurant to abruptly close its doors over breakthrough infections among staff. On Saturday, Oakland's beloved Polynesian watering hole The Kon-Tiki posted on Facebook that a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19; the cocktail bar will now close for a few days, at least.

San Francisco's upscale-casual Thai restaurant Nari took to Instagram on Friday, sharing that three fully vaccinated staff members had tested positive for the disease. To protect guests and staff alike, Nari will reopen on August 11th — after staff members are tested not once, but twice for COVID-19.

A similar scenario played out at Ramen Shop off College Avenue in Oakland after a staff member recently tested positive for the disease. "Ramen Shop will be closed for a few days for testing and cleaning," reads a part of the Instagram caption — before urging everyone to "stay safe and get vaccinated."

Don't forget to mask up indoors. And do your part in disarming anyone wielding misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines as a weapon.

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Image: Getty Images/DuxX