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Bay Area Business Owners Uncertain How Newsom's Plan To Reopen State Will Pan Out

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Bay Area business owners have already made big changes due to the coronavirus pandemic and are willing to make more, but they're not sure how feasible Gov. Newsom's plan to reopen the state is.

On San Francisco's typically bustling Chestnut Street, stillness reigns--with the exception of physically distanced lines outside restaurants for take out.

Meg Shackleton, owner of jewelry store Margaret Elizabeth, says brides-to-be and Mother's Day shoppers should be filling her store right now. She says Newsom's statement that the full shelter-in-place order might loosen is giving her some hope about getting her staff off furlough and expanding back to brick and mortar sales instead of strictly online.

"I think if we were able to kind of maintain some kind of distancing between customers, and keep one staff on the floor, I think it's possible that we can, we'll do whatever it takes to put safety first," Shackleton said.

But loosening won't mean life is fully back to normal, especially in restaurants.

"You may be having dinner with a waiter wearing gloves, maybe a face mask, dinner where the menu is disposable, where half of the tables in that restaurant no longer appear," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a news conference on Tuesday.


At Campbell's Sushi Confidential, business is all take out in tents in front of the restaurant and their downtown San Jose branch remains closed. In the Bay Area, where every inch of space comes at a premium price, owner Randy Musterer isn't sure what a half-emptied out restaurant might look like or if it's even sustainable.

"If we were only to allow 10 or 20 or 30 customers inside, now we have to have bartenders and hosts and bussers and all of these different jobs that we want. We want to be able to create jobs, but we might not be able to afford that at that time," Musterer said.

Owners say they'll do whatever it takes to see customers in person again and not just through apps and online orders.

"We're just thinking about what we can do to service our customers in the safest way possible," said Shackleton.

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