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COVID Reopening: SF Restaurants Get Set For Indoor Dining Under Red Tier

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) -- San Francisco moves back into the Red Tier, allowing for more reopenings and fewer restrictions.

Under the Red Tier, San Francisco restaurants can offer indoor dining for the first time since September starting Wednesday, March 3.

At Waterbar and sister restaurant EPIC Steak, the tables have been placed at least 6 feet apart and only select booths will be used.

Some staff members have also been called back to work.

"Super excited, like we've been waiting so long to get back to the point where there's forward movement," said Managing Partner Pete Sittnick.

Sittnick says at 25 percent capacity, the financial boost won't be big at first.

Under the Red Tier, tables are limited to one household with a maximum of 4 people, and dining must end at 10 pm.

"I think it's just 'let's be conservative, let's not go crazy and just open it all up. Let's take steps and maybe be calculated,'" said Sittnick. "I think that's okay, because the last thing we want to do is have to shut down again."

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is warning state officials against lifting restrictions too quickly. Variants could lead to a rapid rise in COVID-19 cases.

"I do think that we think economic and social outlets as cases go down. Why do we need that? Because it makes a huge difference for our mental health," said UCSF Infectious Disease expert Dr. Monica Gandhi.

China Live in North Beach is prepared to serve up to 50 guests indoors in multiple indoor spaces.

"We just put reservations online yesterday and we're almost fully booked for tomorrow through the weekend," said Partner Doug Collister. "We experienced that also when we were closing down."

So far, more than 20 percent of San Franciscans have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

"I'm feeling enthusiastic. I think that San Francisco has taken all the precautions and I think that San Franciscans are by their nature cautious, and I think this is going to be fine. We're not Texas," said China Live diner Curtis Sparrer of San Francisco.

San Francisco also relaxed outdoor dining rules, which now allow groups of up to six people from three households to eat together and the city has lifted the 10 p.m. curfew.

Mayor London Breed said that the city within the next three weeks would move into the even more lenient orange tier.

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