San Francisco restaurants welcome customers back inside

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The red tier in the state's re-opening plan is in effect in San Francisco, Napa and Santa Clara counties. Restaurants can now allow customers inside up to 25% of the dining room's capacity.

Roxanne's Café in San Franciso's Lower Nob Hill happily welcomed the breakfast crowd inside Wednesday morning and plans to now start bringing back the 14 employees who had to be let go because of the shutdown.



"I can't even express my feelings. Everyone has been waiting for this moment. I am sure all small business owners like us have been waiting for their moment. I am very excited. It's a light at the end of the tunnel," owner Henry Hejazi said while overseeing two tables full of customers.

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One couple visiting from San Diego was delighted to eat inside at Roxanne's, after a cold dinner outside.

"It was awful last night- it was cold. We went to Pier 39 to eat. I was very surprised today we got to eat inside. It's more normalizing and better. I am just glad things are getting back to normal," Nayyi Perez said.

"Nothing beats inside dining. They want to chat and nobody wants to eat on the street," Hejazi said.

But people were still out on the street Wednesday morning in North Beach. Caffe Greco is still not ready to open its indoor dining room. Employees say the owner will probably wait until the next re-opening tier before letting people inside.

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A loyal group of customers who has coffee at Caffe Greco every morning was fine with sitting outside.

"I prefer outdoor dining. I feel there is better ventilation than there is inside," said John Lanni.

His friend, Dennis Sullivan, said he hopes the makeshift outdoor dining rooms restaurants have created will become permanent.

"I think the city has been transformed by the parklets. I think it has added to a variety of opportunities. I hope that continues. Being inside is of course wonderful but being outside is equally as wonderful," Sullivan said.

Hejazi agrees they do have a certain charm to them. And they were expensive. Hejazi spent $22,000 on Roxanne Café's parklet. He said he would be willing to consider keeping it but says it will be up to City Hall, as they take up metered parking spaces.

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