San Francisco Business Owners Confused About Reopening

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San Francisco is one step closer to the world we used to know. That’s the hope, at least. 

Starting Monday, some businesses in the city may be reopening under new, strict health guidelines. For some business owners, there’s confusion as to what that may look like. 

In Hayes Valley, a lot of retail stores are still boarded up with no sign of possibly reopening Monday. There may be more than meets the eye or it may be impossible for them to do so.

“No idea of when we’re going to open or any justification of when", said Erik Anfinson. ” For the charter boat operator who works out of Fisherman’s Wharf, he’s getting mixed messages from city agencies.

The Port of San Francisco and the Police Department gave him the green light, but then the health department told him not yet. All he wants are some consistent answers to help him navigate these troubled waters.

“Still have our berth rent, still have our insurance, still have our payroll, and it’s hurting us big time," Anfinson said.

At Birba, they’ve severely cut back their hours, but are providing curbside pickup for produce and wine, which means, hypothetically, they don’t think Monday will look too different for what they’ve been able to set up. The wine bar’s owner and operator, Angela Valgiusti, said, “Anticipating what’s coming. It’s pretty much the unknown. I guess when they say stay in the present moment, that’s all. We’re really living that now.” 

Restaurant consultant Laurel Robinson said she’s not surprised Friday was quiet in both Union Square and Hayes Valley. There’s a lot that comes into play when it comes to reopening a business’ doors. Robinson told us to keep these questions in mind: “Do they already have an online store set up? Do they have the bandwidth to do that? They closed their business for 8 weeks. Do they have any staff to help them?” 

If businesses are able to open again, they may be asked to close if there’s a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations across the city.

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