As the state lifts the home stay requirement and counties return to California’s color-coded animal system to guide businesses reopening, restaurants are preparing to return to al fresco dining this week.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco is expected to reenter the strictest purple stage, where personal services and outdoor dining will reopen.

“I’m excited that we can do this and I know it will bring some relief to small businesses and workers who have been really struggling for months,” Breed added on social media.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Breed confirmed that restaurants will be able to start eating outdoors at 8 a.m. on Thursday, January 28. Along with the restart of outdoor dining, the city requires that eating be limited to six people from no more than two households, at one table; The distance between tables must be at least 6 feet and barriers can no longer be used as an alternative to this distance. Live entertainment is permitted with the exception of vocal, brass or wind instruments.

Grocery stores are allowed to increase customer capacity from 35% to 50%.

The entire Bay Area will be re-included in the color-coded tier system at Lila, allowing the districts to dine al fresco again (however, local variances apply, which are determined by each individual county). Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma counties have all advised that outdoor dining can resume immediately.

Sean Sullivan, co-owner of The Port Bar in Oakland, said it was “exciting” to learn they are reopening this week and plans to reopen with a brand new parklet starting Tuesday.

“It’s exciting because we’ve had to cut down the hours for our people who are having problems and they’re all weird people with color and so on [being closed] was depressing and tough on us [and] That means lower sales, “Sullivan told SFGATE.

Describing her bar scene just before ordering at home in December and during the 10pm curfew, Sullivan said he felt that allowing restaurants and bars to stay open during the pandemic “will help prevent major infections, because [they’re] outside “and giving people places to collect instead of being inside with people outside their pods.

“Let me tell you, people are still drinking and partying all the time and we always felt like we were helping prevent bigger infections because we are outside – we make cops about their removal and their masks” Sullivan said. “And it was so disheartening when we closed at 10pm because … [at] 9:45 [p.m.]we’d make the last call. All of these people ran in and bought bottles from us – which is great for our bottle sales – but unfortunately they brought them home to parties where they would be sitting in a 600-square-foot apartment, all on top of each other, no masks. We are just thrilled to be part of the solution and prevention during this difficult time. “

While some are excited about the chance to reopen, others are a little more cautious with their own businesses. Yuka Ioroi, owner of Cassava in San Francisco, closed her restaurant to the public on Jan. 2 while the state stay home order was in effect because she and her team believed the COVID- 19 case numbers were too high at this point in time. Although San Francisco will allow restaurants to reopen from Thursday, Ioroi doesn’t plan to reopen until Feb. 8, citing concerns about the new variant of COVID-19 found in California.

“In Japan we hear a lot about the long-term effects and now they have started talking about long-distance drivers here,” said Ioroi. “So [the new COVID-19 variant is] more contagious and … we don’t know if this new variant will have more serious aftereffects and the like. So we’re really scared. “

Ioroi believes that certain companies are allowed to stay open, e.g. B. nail and hairdressing salons or massage areas where customers and employees can remain masked at all times. But Ioroi expressed concern about restaurants and bars, saying while others said there is no science behind the transmission of COVID-19 while eating outdoors, she is concerned because “there are so many occasions when people don’t wear masks wearing “in restaurants and that eating and drinking is a” mouth-open “activity, which is the main way in which COVID-19 can be transmitted.

“My original plan was for us to start takeaway [on February 8] and maybe when daylight saving time happens and then we learn a little more – but like a few months or so – what’s going on with this new variant. And then when the number of cases remains lower and lower, such as below 200 [cases] one day, about two weeks in a row, then we might consider opening up outside of eating.

“But right now, I don’t want to get a lifetime illness for $ 10,000, or any of my employees [to get infected]. I cannot be responsible for this type of injury for the rest of her life, “she added.

However, this week business owners finally have the option to choose whether to reopen or not. Many restaurant owners were made aware on Sunday evening that al fresco dining would begin this week.

The Golden Gate Restaurant Association welcomed the news, saying in a statement that reopening alfresco dining was “a huge step forward” for San Francisco and the restaurant community.

“We will continue to work with the city and the Ministry of Health on clear and workable guidelines that focus on creating a safe and healthy environment for our employees, guests and the community,” the group said in a statement. “We urge our members and residents of San Francisco to abide by these regulations that allow for permanent reopening as additional closings will have drastic economic consequences, including temporary and permanent closings.”

SFGATE news editor Amy Graff contributed to this report.

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with information from Mayor London Breed’s press conference. This article is a developing story and will be updated as more details about al fresco dining are posted. To learn more about the California Home Stay Order waiver, click here.