"Dreamforce is famous for being such a large event. This year, 1,000 people will be here on site and over 160,000 will join online," said Colin Fleming, the senior vice president of global brand marketing at Salesforce.
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Salesforce still went big on presentation. Howard Street between 3rd and 4th Streets is shut down and has been transformed into an outdoor convention floor, complete with a stage that will host big names like the rock band The Foo Fighters.
The Foo Fighters will be performing on this stage tonight for Dreamforce in San Francisco. The Salesforce convention was cancelled last year and will be smaller this year- with 1,000 attendees instead of the usual 170,000. Vaccination & daily testing required. pic.twitter.com/6mjKsEiGCn— Amy Hollyfield (@amyhollyfield) September 21, 2021
"We have Will Smith, Emmy award winner Jason Sudeikis... Dreamforce magic is back here in San Francisco," Fleming said.
But it isn't quite the magic businesses in the area need.
The owner of The Grove Restaurant, located at Mission and 3rd Street, says the 170,000 attendees in year's past really lifted his business.
"It was incredibly important for us and everyone up and down the block. They (Salesforce) would buy out the restaurants, parts of the museums. It was a major part of our annual budget, our ability to exist. That three days was equivalent to three weeks," Kenneth Zankel said.
He went on to say, though, that 1,000 people sounds good by COVID standards.
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"If last year didn't exist, it would be really disappointing but 1,000 is better than zero. And hopefully this is the beginning of moving forward," the restaurant owner said.
He said business started picking up Monday as people arrived in San Francisco for Dreamforce.
"If you look around at the people walking around. This has not been happening down here," he said, surveying Mission Street.
In a cruel twist, he will not be open for the happy hour or dinner Dreamforce crowd. He closes at 3 p.m. because he can't find enough workers to staff the evenings, another lingering effect of COVID-19.
"We're getting them bit by bit but it is a struggle. It's the ultimate weird dichotomy, you have demand and then you can't meet it," Zankel said.
RELATED: How will San Francisco's Union Square, downtown businesses recover from COVID-19 pandemic?
The number of people isn't the only change at Dreamforce this year. Those in attendance will also face pandemic safety protocols.
"We'll have multiple tests on site, vaccination requirement of course, with testing on every single day we attend the conference," Fleming said.
Dreamforce will run Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
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