Several San Francisco restaurant owners are questioning the shutdown of outdoor dining across the Bay Area, and UCSF infectious disease scientist, Dr. Monica Gandhi, said it is only fair for them to challenge the framework as there was not enough data that linked outdoor dining to the spread of new COVID-19 cases in the region.
With the new stay-at-home order, restaurants are required to stop their outdoor dining services and operate via take-outs and deliveries. The increased restrictions only made it even harder for business owners to survive amid the pandemic.
A restaurant and bar owner, Ben Bleiman, said that the new framework would be the end of many restaurants in the city. He added, “We pay billions of dollars in taxes, just the San Francisco hospitality industry alone billions of dollars in taxes a year and right now we have been filling up the state and city with tax dollars for years and years and years, and at the time we need the most help, crickets from there.”
In Dr. Gandhi’s statement, he said that “There hasn’t been any data presented that if done right with ventilation, with masking, hand hygiene and distancing, smaller tables. Everything that people did and many restaurants did to keep it safe that restaurants became a root of spread.” He also pointed out that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did not differentiate indoor and outdoor dining when they observed that eating at restaurants increases the risk of spreading the coronavirus, KRON4 reported.
Several others in the city, not just restaurant owners, have been expressing their doubts about the new stay-at-home order. One judge in Los Angeles County ruled last week that the county acted arbitrarily in ordering restaurants to shut down. He said there was no concrete proof that these businesses were the reason why the numbers of positive coronavirus cases increased.