Nightlife’s Return to San Francisco Remains Set on Dim

Earlier this week Governor Newsom gave us a look at the criteria he would use to guide him toward an eventual reopening. Just hearing the words of reopening was cause to celebrate a return to a life we once took for granted. Equivalating the process to a dimmer, Newsom said, “This is an imperfect science. We talk about what the new normal will look like — normal, it will not be.”

And for bars, clubs, concerts and anything nighlife, Newsom added, “Large-scale events (this summer) that bring in hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of strangers all together across every conceivable difference, health and otherwise, is not in the cards based on our expectations.”

With those few words, for a local industry that the San Francisco Entertainment Commission estimates employs more than 60,000 workers, the implications are sobering. And while Dan Gentile’s piece, SF after dark: what will the city’s nightlife look like when it’s turned back on? is a good summary of the challenges, there remain too many unanswered questions.

“The real question on the minds of the nightlife industry right now, beyond how they’ll stay solvent, is what that culture will look like when it does return. If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that the community will persevere through this together,” says Matt Feldberg, marketing director of 1015 Folsom.

“Everyone is in the same boat and dealing with the same issues,” says Marco De la Vega, venue director of one of the city’s biggest dance venues, Public Works. “On the agency level and the artist level and the management level and the venue level and the independent promoter level, everyone is having to deal with the same s—.”

Using a baseball game analogy for this ordeal, are we still in the 1st inning or the 6th? Unfortunately, nobody really knows. All we know is that we have to try our best to help each other find that light at the end of the tunnel.

 
Photo Credit: Kristina Bakrevski

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