Coronavirus impact: San Francisco's nightlife begins to pick up amid COVID-19 shelter-in-place order

ByLauren Martinez KGO logo
Sunday, May 17, 2020
New 'nightlife' in SF amid COVID-19 restrictions
Things are picking up, perhaps a little too much in San Francisco's Marina District and SFPD have taken notice of the crowds and lack of social distancing in front of bars amid the novel coronavirus shelter-in-place order.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Things are picking up, perhaps a little too much in San Francisco's Marina District and SFPD have taken notice of the crowds in front of bars.

A photo of a large crowd in front of a bar off Chestnut Street on Friday night looked as if it were business as usual before the pandemic. On Saturday, ABC7 didn't find large crowds like the one pictured but did see San Francisco police officers addressing groups of people.

People on Union Street said officers went over their loudspeaker and asked large groups to disperse. Officers were giving out warnings to people not carrying masks on themselves.

RELATED: Cities across Bay Area push for outdoor dining, post-pandemic

Johnny Metheny owns four bars in San Francisco, The Blue Light, off Union Street is the only one currently open.

"Things we don't normally sell a lot of have become by far the biggest sellers that we're doing right now," Metheny said.

He said before the pandemic they were an all American bar, but since the changes, piña coladas and frozen margaritas have been the biggest sellers. "I've asked people and they say at least they can semi have a vacation," Metheny said.

RELATED: 3 counties branch off from strict Bay Area stay-at-home order, changes to come Monday

Cal Dreyer is a regular customer at The Blue Light. He said compared to other parts of the world where people are sometimes not allowed to go outside at all, people in the Bay Area are pretty fortunate.

"To be out, the weather is beautiful, a lot of people have it worse than we have right now. We're trying to support them, we're trying to support locals so if it's not here we go across the road. We go to Perry's, we just try and support locals," Dreyer said.

Retail sales are up at California Wine Merchant, a wine bar and store off Chestnut Street. The owners, Deb and Greg O'Flynn have been taking in delivery orders through the phone. Peter Palmer mans the store during the day. They've converted a window into a transaction desk/sanitizer station.

RELATED: Santa Clara County the only Bay Area county not entering Phase 2 by next week

"Today was definitely the busiest I've seen on Chestnut Street. I think people are champing at the bit, and knowing Monday a lot of places are going to be opening. I think people are kind of getting revved up to get out there," Palmer said.

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