July 13 has been a beacon for San Francisco restaurants since May, when city officials announced that indoor dining would resume on that date. Though outdoor dining’s been up and running since June 12, even with tables spread along sidewalks and in the street, restaurants have been counting on a return to indoor dining as a way to generate enough revenue to stay in business. But now, SF’s restaurant lobby says the city has paused its plans to allow dining indoors, another roll-back intended to slow the spread of the new coronavirus (COVID-19).
According to a statement from the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA), “Well-placed city sources have confirmed that the July 13th date for the opening of indoor dining will not happen.” A spokesperson for the GGRA says that a formal announcement is expected on Monday or Tuesday, and that “at this time we do not anticipate being given a new date.”
A spokesperson with the city tells the San Francisco Business Times that “Given the rise in cases and hospitalizations in San Francisco and the Bay Area region, the city is revising plans to reopen indoor dining,” but did not officially state that the July 13 date is off.
Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered 19 counties across California, including Contra Costa, Santa Clara, and Solano counties, to shutter indoor dining and bars as coronavirus cases continued to rise across the state. While San Francisco wasn’t on that shutdown list, it voluntarily paused a plan to allow outdoor drinking last month, saying then that a reopening date for bars was dependent on infection rates over the July 4 weekend.
Meanwhile, Marin County had reopened for indoor dining on June 29, but halted this weekend. KPIX reports that rising infection rates in the region prompted Newsom to add Marin to the shutdown list. On Sunday night, officials ordered all dining rooms in the county to close for at least three weeks, KRON 4 reports.
In Marin, San Francisco, and all other California counties, outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery is still allowed, but many say that those services aren’t enough to allow them to get by. The GGRA concurs, saying that canceling San Francisco’s July 13 reopening “is clearly both a disappointment and a financial blow for our industry.” However, it says, “our biggest concerns remain with the health of our workers, patrons and residents of the state” and that “We are encouraged that outside dining is still allowed.”