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COVID-19 Cases Falling; San Francisco Officials Could Reopen Indoor Dining

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom believes some California counties could enter the less restrictive red tier this week. In the Bay Area, San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin counties are poised to move first.

This weekend, plenty of people were out and about enjoying outdoor dining and the mild weather. Things could get even busier with the addition of indoor dining at 25% capacity.

Total Meltdown SF on Valencia Street is a new pop-up shop at Mission Picnic that offers all things cheese and comfort food. It just opened last month and is more than ready for more business.

"I'm cautiously excited about it, because you can really feel the energy in the city shifting, there's a little bit of willingness to be out and about," said Total Meltdown SF partner Jacob Paronyan.

While it would not make a huge impact immediately, he said it would be a step in the right direction.

"Just a symbol that we are starting to get back to a little bit of normal, that people are going to start getting a little more comfortable with vaccines and being able to have various other activities throughout the city is really the exciting part," Paronyan added.

The 7-day average of new cases is 92 in San Francisco, compared with 307 a month ago on January 13th.

"I'm hoping after this, that we can use our principles - masking, ventilation, and distancing, and we will be able to stay open in this same way and even get better, and with vaccines coming on board, I'm hoping we'll never have another surge again," said UCSF Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Monica Gandhi.

Plant-based Italian spot Baia in Hayes Valley first opened back in August for takeout.

"Nobody's ever sat at the bar at this brand new restaurant, nobody's ever been to the private dining room for a party," said Chef and Restauranteur Matthew Kenney.

Kenney says during the short time Baia was open for indoor dining, it dramatically increased revenue.

"25% allows for very, very safe indoor dining. It's a 200-seat restaurant on two floors, 6,000 square feet," said Kenney. "So at 25% capacity with a bar, you would almost have to make a phone call to get to the next table."

Baia said if San Francisco gives indoor dining the green light, they would be prepared to bring more staff back.

State health officials are expected to announce which counties will move tiers on Tuesday. Ultimately, the decision to allow indoor dining is up to San Francisco officials.

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