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Thanks to Omicron, Temporary Restaurant Closures Keep Rolling

And yet indoor dining is still on the table in SF, and other news 

Patricia Chang

Omicron cases continued to rise over the holidays, impacting whether or not restaurants were able to stay open at the start of the new year. In San Francisco, 600 new cases a day is the weekly average, and the city is now seeing a surge in hospitalizations, according to UCSF chair of medicine Bob Wachter and the San Francisco Chronicle. Following that trend, many restaurants have continued to report breakthrough cases and exposures among their staff, resulting in rolling temporary closures ranging from one night to a couple of weeks.

The running list of temporarily closed restaurants now includes acclaimed local spots such as Octavia, Pearl 6101, Juni, Piperade, Ernest, Nightbird, Che Fico, Penny Roma, Uma Casa, Mr. Digby’s, Mothership, Snail Bar, Viridian, and many more, with some citing the need to test and isolate. Here’s more on how these unexpected closures hurt restaurants; suffice to say, it’s worth checking restaurants' websites and social channels before heading out to eat, in case your favorite neighborhood spot shutters on short notice.

But indoor dining is still on the table in San Francisco

But even with COVID cases rising and restaurants shuttering, it does not appear that the city and county of San Francisco plan to impose any new dining restrictions, the San Francisco Business Times confirmed. Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, has been in contact with public health officer Dr. Susan Philip and shared the GGRA and SF Department of Public Health are not currently anticipating any additional restrictions to indoor dining, such as the shutdowns or reduced capacities that we’ve seen in the past. Although of course, it’s still vax cards and masks on. [SF Business Times]

Dungeness crabs have officially landed on the docks of San Francisco

As highly anticipated, Dungeness crab has finally (and officially) landed on the docks of San Francisco Bay: the first haul of crustaceans hit the pier on December 29, just in time for New Year’s celebrations, as confirmed by the San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco’s local season was delayed by six weeks due to migrating whales, although zones up and down the coast opened earlier, so crab was already trickling in. And for the first time this year, it is possible to buy directly off the boats. [SF Chronicle]

A mochi institution is closing after a century

A Japantown fixture is shuttering after more than 100 years of mochi, manju, and other sweet treats. Benkyodo Company is a confectionery that first opened after the 1906 earthquake, but it’s now closing, CBS SF reported first. Now in the third generation of the Okamura family, the shop came back after the family was forcibly relocated by the U.S. government to prison camps during WWII. But with mochi sales down this new year, the grandsons and current owners made the decision to close. [CBS SF]