SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday, July 22, the San Francisco Department of Public Health and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office ruled that the Ferry Building Marketplace is a mall. As a result, the Ferry Building’s 26 shops that lack accessibility to doors leading directly outside must immediately stop welcoming customers indoors.
The Ferry Building website’s official public health update explains, “Pursuant to the State of California’s July 13, 2020 Statewide Public Health Officer Order, malls and certain other indoor activities are being restricted. Currently San Francisco is on the state’s watch list and thus, the Ferry Building’s interior retail stores must temporarily discontinue serving customers.”
While most shops cannot currently welcome visitors in person, they still will offer curbside pickup with customers ordering online or by telephone. Some of the businesses that will have to close for the time being are Dandelion Chocolate, Far West Fungi, and Urban Remedy. Restaurants Acme Bread Co, Blue Bottle Cafe, Boulette’s Larder, Hog Island Oyster Co., Gott’s Roadside, as well as the retail store Sur La Table will remain open for in-person dining and business. They differ from the ones that have to close because they have exterior doors. In addition, the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and outdoor dining tables will not have to cease operation.
“It’s a bit of a roller-coaster ride, emotionally and physically, figuring out how to manage day to day,” said Peter Granoff, of Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant to the SF Chronicle.
At least two businesses–San Francisco Fish Co. and Vive La Tarte—have closed permanently during the pandemic. They join others that were forced to close prior to COVID-19 due to rising rent costs at the marketplace. Currently 16 percent of the Ferry Building remains vacant in a time of uncertainty for its vendors and the entire hospitality industry.