Albany Business District Sees Renewed Signs of Life as COVID Reopening Nears

Two days out from California's COVID reopening and there's a sense of progress and relief among the businesses in Albany's Solano Avenue business district.

Albany Business District Sees Renewed Signs of Life as COVID Reopening Nears

ALBANY (KPIX) — Two days from California’s COVID reopening and there’s a sense of progress and relief among the businesses in Albany’s Solano Avenue business district.

“This is our first … return from pandemic pop-up, so it’s really nice to see everyone come back out,” said Cory Shigeta with Always Aloha Shave Ice.

There was a long line for the Hawaiian-style shaved ice, amounting to a 45-minute wait for the pop-up store on Solano Avenue.

“It’s great! (The flavor is) strawberry and lychee,” said Berkeley resident Janice Kosel.

The long line reflected people’s comfort level with opening up and socializing.

“It’s a sign of progress. Yes, there’s more people coming out,” said American Canyon resident Grace Mejia.

Shigeta said that, as California reopens, they also plan to do more pop-ups.

“It is a solid sign of things getting back to normal,” Shigeta said.

“I’m really excited about the full reopening. We can seat more people,” said Praveena Shrestha, a co-owner at the Solano Junction restaurant.

They just re-launched their dinner service this weekend to coincide with the June 15 reopening.

“We were barely surviving, it was hard for us to survive and now business is picking up,” said Lila Neupane, a chef and co-owner of Solano Junction.

“I would definitely want to keep the outdoor seating because some people are still health conscious, they don’t want to sit inside,” said Shrestha.

From food to shoes to books, small businesses along the Solano Avenue corridor said customers are returning to their stores.

“On the weekends, the last couple of weeks, I would say (foot traffic is) at 90 percent of the usual customer flow. Some days, even beyond that, we’re seeing 110, 120 percent,” said Candy Lacayo, a manager at Shoes on Solano.

“We’re doing pretty well in terms of getting close to what we were before the pandemic,” said Pegasus Fine Books store manager Marjorie Darraugh.

And, as California reopens, many businesses hope they’ll go from surviving to thriving.

“We’re just thankful to still be standing though these last 15 months, honestly,” Lacayo said.

Source : CBS San Francisco More   

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UPDATE: 2-Alarm Fire Erupts At San Francisco Residential Hotel; One Resident Injured; Blaze Contained

A two-alarm fire erupted Sunday afternoon at the National Hotel in San Francisco's Civic Center, forcing residents to flee the thick smoke that billowed out of the building.

UPDATE: 2-Alarm Fire Erupts At San Francisco Residential Hotel; One Resident Injured; Blaze Contained

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — A two-alarm fire erupted Sunday afternoon at the National Hotel in San Francisco’s Civic Center, forcing residents to flee the thick smoke that billowed out of the building.

San Francisco Fire officials said one resident was transported to the hospital with injuries and two dogs were rescued.

The hotel, located in the 600 block of Odd Fellows Way just off Market Street, offers 90 units of permanent “supportive housing to San Francisco residents in critical need.”

Fire officials said crews responded to the mid-Market neighborhood to reports of a fire at 5:30 p.m. The response was quickly elevated to two alarms.

As they arrived, they encountered a chaotic scene. Dozens of residents were streaming out of the building.

“All my residents, they lost everything,” the desk clerk told KPIX 5. “They are sitting over there. Upset. They are crying.”

She said the smoke billowed in from the back of the building.

“As the smoke was coming in from the back of the building, I’m knocking on all the doors, trying to get everyone out of the hotel,” she said. “By myself.”

The thick smoke clogged the air in the neighborhood. Flames roared out of the first floor at the rear of the building.

“That smoke is nasty,” the firefighters union tweeted out at the height of the fire. “Anyone in the area should close their windows and avoid it! If you did breathe it please drink a lot of water. It’s the reason firefighters have increased rates of cancer.”

By 7:02 p.m., fire officials said the blaze and smoke had been contained.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation. The Red Cross was at the scene, assisting the 80 displaced residents.

Source : CBS San Francisco More   

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