Restaurants along Mission street are adjusting to San Francisco fully reopening today. Photo by Clara-Sophia Daly.

En Español

Residents and business owners coped today with a mix of glee and ambivalence as the city reopened and lifted restrictions on mask-wearing, social distancing, and capacity limits. 

At Old Jerusalem restaurant, which opened today for the first time in a year, owner Hajem Almukdad had his mask hanging on his neck.

But at Esperpento on 22nd Street near Valencia, Lucero, a server and cashier who has been working at the restaurant for 27 years, said she “feels good, but is also a bit scared,” especially on busy afternoons and weekends, when some people do not wear masks.

It’s scary, she said, because she doesn’t know everyone’s vaccination status and so she wishes people would continue to wear masks except when they are eating. “That would be the best for customers, and for me,” she said.

In California, about 72 percent of adults and about 59 percent of all residents have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to Centers for Disease Control data. 

California has the third-lowest seven-day death rate per capita in the country. But this news has failed to put everyone at ease.  

On the streets of the Mission today, many people were still wearing masks. 

Gomez, an employee at Artillery who also works as an educator, was one of them. “I’m still going to wear a mask inside,” he said. “Because there are some members of our community who haven’t gotten vaccinated or are afraid to get vaccinated.”

Milagros López, who sells jewelry in a tent on the corner of Mission Street and 24th, wore her mask half on, half off. “We are going to recuperate life to how it was before!,” she said enthusiastically in Spanish, clearly content with the reopening.

But Alicia Guitierrez, a clerk at La Reyna Bakery on 24th Street, which her parents own, was concerned about the reopening guidelines. Inside the bakery, they are going to continue using protective glass in front of the counter, and only allow two people in the store at once.  “I don’t think we’re ready for reopening,” Guitierrez said. “We could still get sick. We won’t die, but we could still get sick.”

Statewide, masks are still required on public transportation, in hospitals and jails, schools, and child care centers, but elsewhere, masks are now not required. As of now, restaurant workers are also still required by the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to wear masks. 

At Casa De La Condesa Restaurant on Mission Street, another restaurant worker was not quite ready for the eased restrictions. Diana Vasquez says she still plans to use a mask and wishes other people would too. “I think it’s because I had like 15 or 20 friends with covid,” she explains. Her friends all recovered, but it made her extra cautious. “I think it’s too early for this,” she said.  

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Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys working at the intersection of art and politics, and focusing on the stories of individuals to reveal larger themes.

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