Restaurants open in San Francisco for outdoor dining amid COVID-19 pandemic

Amy Hollyfield Image
ByAmy Hollyfield KGO logo
Friday, June 12, 2020
Restaurants open in San Francisco for outdoor dining amid COVID-19 pandemic
San Francisco restaurants opened for outdoor service Friday for the first time in three months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco restaurants opened their patios Friday for the first time in three months. The city is now allowing outdoor service.

"It feels good to get back to somewhat of normalcy in this crazy world that we are living in right now," said JJ Sweidan, the owner of Squat and Gobble restaurant in San Francisco.

RELATED: Restaurants spring into action after surprise announcement in San Francisco

San Francisco's mayor surprised everyone earlier in the week and announced she was moving up the reopening date from Monday to Friday. That sent restaurant owners into overdrive.

"It was a scramble. There have been a few sleepless nights and your brain is running around all over the place trying to get ready for this but I think we are ready. We are confident in what we are going to do and how we are going to keep everyone safe and healthy," Sweidan said.

He welcomed his first customers at 8 a.m. on Chestnut Street, two friends who were expecting to get take out.

"The owner told us the patio was open and we were thrilled beyond belief! Happy to be the first customers here. They have a wonderful breakfast here. It is great to sit outside and enjoy restaurant service," Geoff Gordon-Creed said.

His friend said sitting at the table was an improvement to balancing a to-go box on his lap.

REOPENING CALIFORNIA: When will San Francisco bars reopen?

"We are just delighted to be able to sit at a table and I am pleased I don't have to cook and clean up and shop... I had a belly full of that! But it's nice to be outside," Eric Safire said.

Not all restaurants reopened Friday. Some were still boarded up, like Rose's Café on Union Street and Flore at Castro and Market. Safire hopes they just need more time but will all come back.

"I think it's going to take a minute for restaurant owners to facilitate eating outside but I think the people of San Francisco are aching for it, ready to take advantage of it," he said.

Sweidan is also pulling for his fellow restaurant owners.

LIFE AFTER COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms, schools, sports will look like when they reopen

"I hope all these restaurants are able to come back because if they don't, it's not good for the area, for the community and where we live," he said.

He had to make many changes to his business. The tables are now 6 feet apart. There is hand sanitizer. There are now individually-wrapped plastic utensils.

"There were a ton of protocols to come sit back here. The owner was being very careful. So I don't have any concerns," said Gordon-Creed.

Masks are required any time a diner leaves the table. No dining inside is allowed.

See more stories and videos about Building a Better Bay Area here.

If you have a question or comment about the coronavirus pandemic, submit yours via the form below or here.

Get the latest news, information and videos about the novel coronavirus pandemic here RELATED STORIES & VIDEOS: