Indoor Dining In SF Is Back. What Do The City’s Restaurant Workers Think? feature image

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Indoor Dining In SF Is Back. What Do The City’s Restaurant Workers Think?

With the return of indoor dining, San Francisco servers, bartenders, and owners share their experiences with reopening - and their biggest concerns.

We’ve all had to make tough decisions about eating and drinking in restaurants as San Francisco has navigated reopening. Dine al fresco on a socially-distanced parklet or patio, or stick with takeout for now? How do we best (and safely) support our favorite restaurants, many of which still struggle to keep the lights on, or have closed permanently? And last month, we were given a new option to consider - indoor dining at a reduced 25% capacity - which, as of November 3, is increasing to 50 percent.

Meanwhile, though, restaurant workers are wrestling with bigger questions: return to work despite rising COVID cases nationwide (the Bay Area’s infection rates are actually declining), or risk being unable to pay rent or live in one of the most expensive cities in the country? It’s imperative we don’t lose sight of the servers, bussers, bartenders, line cooks, dishwashers, and undocumented workers who are among the most vulnerable “essential workforce.”

We want to make these voices, often left out of the restaurant reopening stories, heard. Over phone calls and emails, we asked 10 restaurant workers about their experiences - from the shelter-in-place orders in March to today, and how they feel about working in restaurants during such an uncertain time, especially now that diners are allowed inside.

All interviews are kept anonymous, and have been edited for length and clarity. Photos do not reflect the people or restaurants mentioned.


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