Restaurants continue to crumble under the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and lockdown. In San Francisco, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association has now drafted a list of things it says restaurants need to survive this very bleak winter.
“We wanted our community to know they have a voice,” said Tony Marcell, director of operations and partner at Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco. “It’s a scarier time than any portion of the pandemic we’ve been in except the beginning when we didn’t know what was happening.”
He is one of the thousands of restaurants working to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions.
“We have gone as low in the pandemic to about 12 to 13, we have grown to 40 to 45 with all of the recent slowdown in dining delivery and pickup we are down to 13 to 15 people,” said Marcell.
With outdoor dining off the table, he’s now offering regional delivery, shipping and meal kits for the holidays. He thinks the city’s goal is to keep people safe, but believes they need to know exactly what San Francisco’s famed food scene is facing.
“We want a safe, socially distanced personalized way for people to share their pain, suffering and financial needs,” said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.
Her group has now put out a call to action, a pre written, customizable email for restaurateurs and workers to send to city leaders.
“Our immediate call to action is that we need help, more financial aid, we need relief of business fees and taxes that are hanging over our heads and we need relief for our workers,” said Thomas.
In a statement the city said they understand businesses are struggling, and point out a number of steps the local government has taken to help — including deferral of unified license fees, and a grant program for small businesses and restaurants. But some say it’s not enough.
“There’s a lot of fees that are associated with businesses in our city that have been deferred but they’re still due,” said Thomas.
Not all restaurants are satisfied with simply sending a letter.
A handful – separate from the Restaurant Association – showed up to demand the city either reopen outdoor dining or start paying businesses that had to close.