Bay Area businesses react to June 15 reopening announcement

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- June 15 is the date business owners are counting down to.

After a year and a month of an empty venue, the general manager of San Francisco's The Pearl has something to finally look forward to.

"All the people that we had events like weddings, or corporate events are kind of holding their breath for the opportunity to come back," said Jon Larner, General Manager of The Pearl. "So, this definitive line in the sand gives us the opportunity to reach out to them definitively and say 'we can have your event.'"

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March 6, 2020 was the last time an event was held inside The Pearl. They've been able to survive with PPE loans. But Larner says their rooftop deck will be their saving grace as consumer confidence begins to build up.

Larner expects a long road to personal recovery ahead, but that the industry will be back in full swing.

"It's going to be months if not years," said Larner. "I think that we are going to bounce back in the hospitality industry. We are going to bounce back quickly. I think the demand is massive. People have been using this phrase 'we are returning to the roaring 20's.'"

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The full reopening is dependent on enough vaccine supply for Californians ages 16 years and older to get vaccinated, and stable or low COVID-19 hospitalization rates.

"We estimate about 50% of the small businesses in San Francisco had shutter either temporarily or permanently. Yet to be determined how many will fully come back," said Rodney Fong, president of San Francisco's Chamber of Commerce.

In San Francisco's financial district, many buildings remain empty. Tony Marcell, partner at the Wayfare Tavern, is hopeful this announcement changes that soon.

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"About 20 people who needed a meeting, or 30-40 people that needed a meeting or had a work conference. Those are all parts of this critical mass," said Marcell. "We want them all to come on in."

With indoor and outdoor dining picking up, they are staying hopeful that this summer they will finally be able to breathe.

"We have enough help from the government until August. That gives us, in my head, about a 6-week gap before we really feel like we'll see a larger flow of bodies that come into the city," said Marcell.

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