San Francisco's soul-destroying bureaucracy is killing small restaurant owners trying to survive Covid

Many restaurants in San Francisco are doing their best to survive the pandemic by building "parklets," which are sidewalk structures with tables and chairs. Parklets help stop the spread of Covid because they don't have windows, thus diluting any airborne virus being spread. In July, the city's Board of Supervisors voted to make parklets permanent. But now "multiple city agencies" in San Francisco are going after restaurants that built structures before the city issues 60 pages of parklet structure regulations. Fines for non-compliance are steep. According to MSN, restaurant owners who don't retrofit their parklets to code face fines of $500 a day. Naturally, every single agency or entity contributing to the problem is spending more time pointing fingers than they are doing anything for the shared mess of red tape they produced.

From MSN:

Laurie Thomas, executive director of city trade group Golden Gate Restaurant Association, estimates that as many as 90% of parklets will need to be removed or significantly changed to meet the guidelines, which span more than 60 pages. Though restaurants have a June 30 deadline to come up to code, many businesses are already being warned that they will be assessed hefty fines if they don't make these changes within weeks.

Many restaurants spent $10,000 to $50,000 to build outdoor dining setups, and the program accomplished its goal to boost sales: In a recent survey conducted by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, about 4 out of 5 respondents said that they don't think they can survive without Shared Spaces and that they'd have to lay off employees if they lost their parklet.

Rules governing the structures have changed several times over the past year. In the fall of 2020, the rule book was just seven pages long. Restaurant owners who spoke to The Chronicle said they carefully followed the established rules, assuming they wouldn't dramatically change in the future. When the Board of Supervisors kept the program alive this summer, a new set of regulations was not yet in place.

This reminds me of two stories about people trying to fight cronyism and red tape to get approval for ice cream parlors in San Francisco: