"It feels good to get back to somewhat of normalcy in this crazy world that we are living in right now," said JJ Sweidan, the owner of Squat and Gobble restaurant in San Francisco.
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San Francisco's mayor surprised everyone earlier in the week and announced she was moving up the reopening date from Monday to Friday. That sent restaurant owners into overdrive.
"It was a scramble. There have been a few sleepless nights and your brain is running around all over the place trying to get ready for this but I think we are ready. We are confident in what we are going to do and how we are going to keep everyone safe and healthy," Sweidan said.
Squat and Gobble’s patios in San Francisco are now open! These diners say it feels great to sit at a restaurant and eat a meal *not* out of a to go box ! pic.twitter.com/g1y1eHQ7RL— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) June 12, 2020
He welcomed his first customers at 8 a.m. on Chestnut Street, two friends who were expecting to get take out.
"The owner told us the patio was open and we were thrilled beyond belief! Happy to be the first customers here. They have a wonderful breakfast here. It is great to sit outside and enjoy restaurant service," Geoff Gordon-Creed said.
His friend said sitting at the table was an improvement to balancing a to-go box on his lap.
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"We are just delighted to be able to sit at a table and I am pleased I don't have to cook and clean up and shop... I had a belly full of that! But it's nice to be outside," Eric Safire said.
Not all restaurants reopened Friday. Some were still boarded up, like Rose's Café on Union Street and Flore at Castro and Market. Safire hopes they just need more time but will all come back.
Do not adjust your eyes. This is real! People eating outdoor at a restaurant. This is the patio of Zazie on Cole Street. They opened at 8am and are happy to see customers again. pic.twitter.com/RsBS5GEb6p— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) June 12, 2020
"I think it's going to take a minute for restaurant owners to facilitate eating outside but I think the people of San Francisco are aching for it, ready to take advantage of it," he said.
Sweidan is also pulling for his fellow restaurant owners.
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"I hope all these restaurants are able to come back because if they don't, it's not good for the area, for the community and where we live," he said.
He had to make many changes to his business. The tables are now 6 feet apart. There is hand sanitizer. There are now individually-wrapped plastic utensils.
"There were a ton of protocols to come sit back here. The owner was being very careful. So I don't have any concerns," said Gordon-Creed.
Masks are required any time a diner leaves the table. No dining inside is allowed.
San Francisco restaurants can now serve diners who are seated outside. But it looks like not all restaurants are opening today. pic.twitter.com/Qgtzo9aQZN— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) June 12, 2020
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