Coronavirus shutters 85% of restaurants in San Francisco's business, cultural hubs

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Slapfish Restaurant Group Andrew Gruel discusses government officials enforcing harsher coronavirus restrictions on the restaurant industry.

The vast majority of bars and restaurants in San Franciso's business and cultural hubs have closed as the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic prompted California to impose another lockdown this month.

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Mastercard usage data shared with the city's Chamber of Commerce revealed that around 85% — or 293 of 344 — businesses around the Financial and South of Market Districts aren't operating.


The figure cited businesses in "FiDi" and "SoMa" that were both permanently or temporarily closed through the end of November — though Mastercard noted some may have appeared closed ahead of Thanksgiving, according to a Wednesday report in SF Gate.

Although restaurants have struggled to find new ways to run in the city's downtown, following stringent COVID-19 health restrictions, workers aren't going into their offices anymore.

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks under a sign posted at The San Francisco Athletic Club on Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Those that have been able to remain afloat this far into the year have seen revenue decrease substantially. In a city known for sky-high rent, that can mean the difference between having a livelihood and not.

Predictions of what these districts will look like in 2021 are murky at best, with many large tech companies announcing they would either require or allow employees to continue working from home.

Although the Democratic-led metropolis has offered to waive some permit fees, allow businesses to build parklets for outdoor dining, and devised the Slow Streets program, stay-at-home orders will surely wreak more economic havoc.

According to a report from the National Restaurant Association, more than 110,000 restaurants have closed this year with over 10,000 shuttered within just the past three months.

In a letter calling for aid from Congress, the association's executive vice president Sean Kennedy wrote that his industry "simply cannot wait for relief any longer."


"More than 500,000 restaurants of every business type — franchise, chain and independent — are in an unprecedented economic decline," he said. "And for every month that passes without a solution from Congress, thousands more restaurants across the country will close their doors for good."

Gov. Gavin Newsom's office didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.

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