San Francisco

SF Waterfront Businesses Concerned Over Omicron, Cancellations

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San Francisco announced Tuesday it will cancel its massive New Year's Eve fireworks show due to COVID-19 and public safety concerns.

The recent decision has far reaching effects for thousands of businesses in the area who were banking on the crowd the event would've brought. At the same time, some visitors are experiencing anxiety over the increase in COVID-19 cases.

"We're going to do our best to make sure that people are happy and having a good time at 12 p.m.," said Pete Sittnick, Waterbar and Epic Steak managing partner.

While Bay Area cities have canceled the largest New Year's Eve events over COVID-19 and public safety concerns, most restaurants and bars remain open, though now with strict vaccine and mask rules. Bob Redell reports.

Employees at Waterbar and Epic Steak are prepared to celebrate New Year's Eve with guests who come out to dine. Until yesterday, their unique selling point was a perfect view of the fireworks show, but now that show has been cancelled for the second year in a row.

Some businesses along the waterfront in San Francisco are concerned over how the pandemic is changing New Year's Eve celebration plans, including the cancellation of the city's fireworks show. Christie Smith reports.

"In some ways it takes away a little bit of a special effect for the night," Sittnick said. "That is always sort of the way to culminate it and the fact that you can see them so well from Water Bar and Epic makes it a fun time, so we're not going to have that and we totally get the reason why."

NBC Bay Area’s Janelle Wang spoke to Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, about the omicon varian’t impact on the restaurant industry.

Luckily, the restaurant hasn't seen any cancellations but the owner said he understands some guests may have other concerns.

"We have gotten a couple of calls with concerns about the omicron variant and COVID and you know, we're doing everything we have always been doing in terms of safety and sanitation in the restaurants," Sittnick said.

Other waterfront restaurants are also worried about both the cancellation and the uneven recovery marred by this new COVID-19 surge of the omicron variant.

"We were very surprised and unfortunately it does hurt the Wharf economy," said Randall Scott, Executive Director of the Fisherman's Wharf Community Benefit District.

"We have boats that go out with passengers, we have people that come and dine and then walk down and see the fireworks, you know," XXX said. "It's jut a big blow to our winter time economy."

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