Coronavirus impact: San Francisco bars, restaurants feel effects from COVID-19 concerns

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Concerns over the novel coronavirus, paired with San Francisco's new public health orders, are affecting bars and restaurants across the city.

Some people are celebrating the St. Patrick's Day holiday this weekend.

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Turlock resident Vans Codrington goes to San Francisco on St. Patrick's Day Parade every year with his friends. Since it was canceled, they still decided to head out for a day in the city.

"Celebrating St. Patrick's Day with my friends -- people I love -- and we do it every year, so we decided to it anyway," Codrington said.

There was no hesitation or concern from his group of friends. "We're smart, we're adults, we know what we're supposed to do. As long as you're cautious and understand what's happening, it shouldn't be a deterrent to do anything else," Codrington said.

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Owner of Tonic, Ben Bleiman, said business was down 60-70% this past week. He said the financial impacts bars across San Francisco will feel will be devastating. He has a feeling they have to shut down.

"If we need to shut down, which I think might happen, hopefully it's not for months. If it has to be for a month or two, we will probably apply for SBA loans to get us floated through and use our cash reserves and pray we don't go out of business," Bleiman said.

Paul McAleese, owner of Kells Irish Restaurant and Bar, said he's only staying open right now because of his employees. He wishes the city would mandate all bars and restaurants close. "I was hoping we either say we completely close all the restaurants and bars so we're not in any situation where we're not taking anything away from our employees," McAleese said.

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He said there's a lot of uncertainty on what to do as a restaurant owner. "Do we stay open, do we close? Do we really want people coming in to an empty restaurant or, if we do get a lot of people, then who are we putting at risk?" McAleese said.

McAleese said he's not concerned about losing business around the St. Patricks Day holiday. "Honestly, it would probably be one of the busiest days of the year, but I feel like that's really not the point right now. I actually even forgot about that. If you don't have your health at the end of it, you're not going to be able to do anything. That's what I worry about," McAleese said.

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