Santa Clara County

Civil Unrest Delays Some South Bay Businesses' Plan to Reopen Friday

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Outdoor dining and in-store retail will be allowed to reopen Friday in Santa Clara County, but most businesses in downtown San Jose are staying closed in fear that violence could escalate again.

“I’m pretty much happy about that not having to sit around at home all day, like everybody else,” said Tai Nguyen of San Jose.

But places like San Pedro Square Market won’t put out chairs quite yet as crowds have gathered blocks away.

Still, some will try. Rachel Kaiser, the general manager of San Jose bar and restaurant District, said they will be among the businesses that are still planning to open patio seating for the first time since the pandemic started.

“The plan is to allow open patio starting this Friday with a limited menu and with limited offerings,” she said.

But until downtown is more predictable, they will still close before dark.

“We’re just trying to be safe and make proper accommodations,” Kaiser said. “Closing at eight instead of nine, for instance. But we’re hoping there’s enough people who are ready to be out and ready to come back.”

The downtown association president Scott Knies said most businesses will stay boarded up after looting led to hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage Friday and over the weekend.

Civil unrest has also delayed the so-called San Jose Al Fresco rollout, a plan which allows businesses to expand seating in private parking lots and some streets in order to help make up for lost sales.

“This would have been the perfect weekend to try it out, but I think we’re going to just slow down a little bit and have most of this come out next week,” Knies said.

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