SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco may not feel quite like a "ghost town" after two big changes to the city's reopening plan begin in the coming weeks.
The two big expansions include non-essential businesses that can re-open at 25% capacity starting Oct. 27, and restaurants that will be allowed to expand indoor capacity to 50% on Nov. 3.
RELATED: SF moves into yellow tier, meaning non-essential offices can reopen
It's welcomed news, but the reality downtown still feels pretty ghostly.
In fact, San Francisco still has the highest building vacancy rate it's seen in nearly a decade. More than 11 million square feet of office space currently sits vacant across the city. Some companies breaking leases, as uncertainty looms about the future and a vaccine.
"Companies had put space on the market, because they just didn't know what their needs we're going to be after all this," said Robert Sammons, a senior researcher with real estate firm Cushman and Wakefield.
In the last three months, the city's vacancy rate has jumped from 9.9% up to 14.1%, according to Sammons.
The areas hit the hardest are in the Financial District and South of Market - where each submarket went from single-digit vacancy rates pre-pandemic to nearly double those figures.
VIDEO: SF turned ghost town? Here's how empty the city really is
Currently there are 7,500 companies leasing building space in San Francisco.
Stephanie: "How many do you expect will actually have employees coming back into the office?"
Sammons: "I think a majority will certainly be coming back...the issue right now is they may need more space per person."
Tech-giant Google can afford the extra space. According to Sammons, the company just expanded its lease by 42,000 sq. ft. to accommodate social distancing.
But, other industries don't have that luxury. Just ask restaurant owner, Tony Marcel.
"It's been real tough," he said.
MAP: Interactive map shows what's open, closed in the Bay Area
Marcel owns Wayfare Tavern nestled in the Financial District. He says he can't sustain his business with 50% capacity for very long.
"I could tell you that we probably wouldn't have more than four to seven months like this," said Marcel.
Meantime, like many in his position, Marcel will be adapting to the new guidelines.
Stephanie: "How do you plan to enforce capacity at 50%?"
Marcel: "It's a mathematical equation based upon the occupancy levels that we have in the rooms and in the restaurant."
An equation he's more than willing to do to keep customers' safe.
"We want to take care of each other," Marcel said. "It's all new to everybody, but we'll get through this together."
The city has a Community Education and Response Team (CERT) that is made up of disaster service workers that are handling inspections and complaints.
So far, the city has received 311 complaints about businesses not complying with the health order in San Francisco. San Francisco Police confirmed to ABC7 officers have issued 149 warnings since March -- 82 were to people and 67 were to businesses.
A total of 28 citations have been issued - roughly half were to people not complying to warnings to go home and the other half were to businesses not deemed 'essential' but continued to operate.
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:
- COVID-19 Help: Comprehensive list of resources, information
- Watch list: Counties where COVID-19 is getting worse
- MAP: Everything that's open, forced to close in Bay Area
- Everything to know about CA's confusing reopening plan, summer shutdown and what comes next
- From salons to dinner parties: Experts rate the risk of 12 activities
- Coronavirus origin: Where did COVID-19 come from?
- Life after COVID-19: Here's what restaurants, gyms will look like
- What is a COVID-19 genetic, antigen and antibody test?
- What will it take to get a COVID-19 vaccine and how will it be made?
- What does COVID-19 do to your body and why does it spread so easily?
- Here's how shelter in place, stay at home orders can slow spread of COVID-19
- Coronavirus Timeline: Tracking major moments of COVID-19 pandemic in San Francisco Bay Area
- Experts compare face shield vs. face mask effectiveness
- COVID-19 Diaries: Personal stories of Bay Area residents during novel coronavirus pandemic
- Coronavirus Doctor's Note: Dr. Alok Patel gives his insight into COVID-19 pandemic