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Mary Lagier
March 23, 2021
SF Bars That Don’t Serve Food Can Open For Outdoor Drinking On March 24th
The city’s move to the orange tier on Tuesday means expanded indoor dining - and a loosening of restrictions for bars that don’t serve food.
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On Tuesday, San Francisco officially moved to the orange tier in the state’s color-coded reopening plan - meaning restaurants can open for indoor dining at 50% capacity. The move also means that, for the first time since the shutdown last March, bars that do not serve food can reopen for outdoor drinking.

“Thanks to the continued efforts of San Franciscans to follow public health guidelines, along with our efforts to vaccinate people as quickly as we can, we’re at a place in our fight against this virus where we can continue to move forward with reopening San Francisco,” Mayor Breed stated in a press release Tuesday. “...This move to the orange tier and reopening more activities and businesses than we have since last March gives us all more hope for the future.”

According to earlier state guidelines, bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries were only allowed to open for outdoor dining if they also served food. The restrictions led many bars to partner with neighboring restaurants and pop-ups. But last week, the state loosened restrictions, giving bars the all-clear to serve drinks without food only once a county moves to “orange.”

So what does Tuesday’s announcement mean for your favorite drinking spot? Starting Wednesday, all bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries that don’t serve food can open for outdoor drinking with proper social distancing guidelines, like a max of six people per table and no mingling between parties. When the county advances to the yellow tier, bars will be able to open indoors at 25% capacity (or 100 people, whichever is fewer). Bars that do serve food are on the same reopening track as restaurants, which can now operate at 50% capacity indoors.

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