'PTSD again': COVID forces SF restaurants to temporarily close, some due to breakthrough cases

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's pandemic deja-vu for San Francisco restaurants forced to close amid the latest spike in coronavirus cases.

Tosca in North Beach partially reopened Friday. After a staff member was exposed to COVID-19, the restaurant closed for a few days to get everyone tested.

RELATED: Hundreds of SF bars now requiring proof of vaccination or COVID-19 test

A restaurant manager says now that everyone is known to be negative, full service will resume over the weekend.

"It's like PTSD again," said Laurie Thomas, the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association. She believes there have only been a handful of recent San Francisco closures, but after surviving a shutdown, each one is painful.

"What restaurants are having to do in that situation is to temporarily close, not because they're being dictated to be closed, but because they just can't physically staff the restaurant if some of the workers are out on quarantine," she explained.

"We've been closed a week, and we'll be closed probably another week," said Scott Chilcutt, the co-owner of Aziza, a Moroccan restaurant in the Outer Richmond. Despite mandating the vaccine for his employees in the spring, three of his staff members recently tested positive for COVID - all breakthrough cases.

VIDEO: UC Davis doctor fears COVID-19 is here to stay regardless of vaccines

"It's deflating because we thought once everyone was vaccinated and all the steps we took to sort of get through to this point, we were hoping we were on the back end of it. We had no positive cases for 14 months prior to this," he said.

And safety doesn't come cheap. Chilcutt expects the two week closure will cost them $75,000 dollars, and they're still only running at 50% capacity because of staffing constraints.

"It's a huge loss of revenue and it's certainly not a time we can be losing revenue."

RELATED: COVID testing demand 'overwhelming' San Francisco community test sites

If you want to help a restaurant out, Chilcutt suggests the following:
  • Bring a mask for inside dining
  • Don't show up if you feel sick
  • Get vaccinated
  • Be kind and patient, since everyone is short staffed



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