COVID-19 Reopening for San Francisco Restaurants: Indoor Dining

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -For the first time since mid-March when the COVID-19 Pandemic hit, people came in droves to San Francisco’s well-known dining establishment to eat a meal indoors. It was an exciting moment for many patrons to sit inside a restaurant rather than being mandated to eat outside.

Restaurants Follow COVID-19 Guidelines

Businesses like restaurants have had an incredibly difficult time. They have been dark. Stuck in a very difficult situation having to try to survive by serving take-out. Then only recently serving meals to customers outdoors in makeshift patios. But this past week, the city moved into the moderate Orange Tier of California’s reopening guidelines. They began allowing limited indoor dining on Wednesday, September 30th.

Reenergizing the Dining Scene

Buzzing with activity, kitchens in many San Francisco restaurants were reenergized Saturday night as diners got their first got their “literal” taste of normalcy. What about sweet relief! It was a welcomed, friendly scene at Tyler Florence’s Wayfare Tavern on Sacramento Street.

“Every single thing they’re doing is by the book,” said Lucianna Castellucci, a diner from Novato. “We’ve had nothing but great experiences here. They have sanitizer by the door, they have a list of rules they ask for you to abide by and respect. “It is about time. People are going stir crazy in their homes.”

Restaurants require health surveys. In San Francisco, they can operate indoors at 25% capacity or up to 100 people. When not eating or drinking, masks must be worn.

Busy Night at Wayfare Tavern

Danny Barrious, Wayfare Tavern General Manager, said they had 190 reservations indoors and outdoors. The restaurant said they would expect to do 240 on a busy night before the pandemic.

“The indoor dining thing is a lot bigger than we had anticipated,” said Barrious. “Coming into this, we weren’t sure whether people were going to be tentative. or whether they’re ready for indoor dining. But clearly, they’re ready for indoor dining.”

One patron Marie Carr was celebrating her 40th birthday with her family.

“It feels normal, which is great to see the kitchen staff working and other patrons. It’s an exciting moment,” she said.

Fisherman’s Wharf Servicing Indoor Dining to Capacity Seating

Fisherman’s Wharf, a favorite Scoma’s was full of vibrant activity after a six-month hiatus. They welcomed diners indoors with acrylic separators between booths. They were solidly booked on Saturday.

“It’s amazing, when you call for a reservation and they say ‘indoor and outdoor, you’re like great, I would take indoor,’” said diner Susan Bunnell, who was visiting from the Central Valley. “Because we haven’t had it for so long.”

Scoma’s maximum capacity is now 63. Several guests also took advantage of outdoor dining.

“Credit to the Scoma family – the effort to keep people employed is really an important part of our model,” said General Manager Michael Cope. “But no, 25% is not sustainable. We are anxiously awaiting the next step.”

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