reopening the bay area

San Francisco Restaurants Welcome Diners Back Indoors

NBC Universal, Inc.

After months of dishing out takeout or serving customers outside, San Francisco restaurants on Wednesday were allowed to invite diners back indoors.

Far East Cafe in Chinatown almost shut down permanently last year, but after receiving support from the city as well as members of the community, it was able to hang on. Now, with the addition of indoor dining at a limited capacity and with safety protocols to slow the transmission of COVID-19, owner Bill Lee hopes business will pick up

"We will make more business, and we can continue to increase the service to the community in Chinatown," Lee said.

After months of dishing out takeout or serving customers outside, San Francisco restaurants on Wednesday were allowed to invite diners back indoors. Pete Suratos reports.

Per city guidelines, dining tables will be limited to one household or a maximum of four people per table. Indoor service is required to end by 10 p.m.

Over at the Waterbar along the Embarcadero, some groups arrived early for indoor dining, getting their first look at the extensive safety protocols to keep both the workers and customers safe.

"It’s very important," Vivian Brown said. "It just makes us feel like we’re opening up, we got a little more freedom, something to do."

While Wednesday was a step in the right direction, Pete Sittnick, the managing partner for the Waterbar, said they have a long way to go before they get back to normal.

"Operating with 25% indoor is better than nothing, but it's still not able to sustain us at a profitable level," he said. "We really need to get to 50, maybe 75%."

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