SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Salesforce's annual convention, Dreamforce, opened in San Francisco Tuesday morning for the first time since 2019. The event is scaled back from its usual 170,000 attendees because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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.
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.
"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.
WATCH: Here's what Bay Area transit leaders are doing to prepare for return of San Francisco workers
"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.
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.
VACCINE TRACKER: How California is doing, when you can get a coronavirus vaccine
Having trouble loading the tracker above? Click here to open it in a new window.
RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS:
- Map shows everywhere you can get a COVID-19 test in the Bay Area
- Mask mandates are back in Bay Area, so what's the safest one to wear? Here's what doctor says
- Here's everything you need to know about COVID-19 booster shots
- What we know about the delta variant of COVID-19 following new CDC report
- Lambda and delta plus: What to know about other COVID variants detected in US
- How to show proof of vaccination in San Francisco or anywhere in California
- Should vaccinated people get tested if exposed to COVID-19? CDC explains
- Can a breakthrough infection still lead to long haul COVID-19? San Francisco doctor explains
- CA COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker: See your status here
- These CA counties are way ahead in vaccinations
- Data tracker: Coronavirus cases, deaths, hospitalizations in every Bay Area county
- Get the latest updates on California EDD, stimulus checks, unemployment benefits
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area