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Authorities in San Francisco are Thinking About Letting People Drink in The Streets!


CNS NewsIn a bid to rejuvenate downtown areas post-pandemic, San Francisco is contemplating the introduction of designated “Entertainment Zones” where public drinking could become legal. This innovative proposal, spearheaded by State Senator Scott Wiener through Senate Bill 969, aims to place the power of creating these zones in the hands of city authorities.

The primary goal is to enhance foot traffic in downtown areas that have seen a significant decline since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senator Wiener, in discussions with local media, highlighted the uneven recovery trajectories across Californian cities, with none achieving the pre-pandemic levels of downtown foot traffic witnessed in 2019.

This downturn in activity poses a threat to the economic revival efforts in regions like San Francisco. Currently, specific licensed establishments in California are permitted to sell alcoholic beverages for off-premises consumption, but this privilege does not extend to bars and restaurants.

Authorities in San Francisco are Thinking About Letting People Drink in The Streets!

The proposed legislation seeks to change this, allowing these establishments to sell drinks to-go within the designated zones. The initiative to bring alcoholic beverages into public spaces, as delineated by city leadership, is seen as a responsible method to invigorate downtown streets.

By establishing Entertainment Zones, Senator Wiener believes that it will not only give people a compelling reason to frequent these recovering areas but also open up a vital new revenue stream for bars and restaurants struggling in the wake of the pandemic. Support for this bill is evident in the backing it has received from the leaders of San Francisco and San Jose.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed expressed enthusiasm for the bill, viewing Entertainment Zones as a creative and flexible solution to invigorate neighborhoods that have been predominantly seen as daytime destinations. This move aligns with broader strategies to create more vibrant, dynamic neighborhoods in the city.

Authorities in San Francisco are Thinking About Letting People Drink in The Streets!

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A study titled “Downtown Recovery Rankings,” which utilized cell phone location data to gauge downtown activity levels, found that foot traffic in downtown San Francisco had plummeted by 33% in the spring of 2023 compared to the same period in 2019. This stark decline underscores the urgent need for innovative solutions like the proposed Entertainment Zones to catalyze downtown revival and economic recovery.

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