After a year in lockdown, there is extra excitement for the return of the San Francisco Fourth of July fireworks show this weekend.
The city is rolling out the red carpet, hoping to start climbing out of the economic hole the pandemic created.
The fireworks are back. Some businesses say they’ve already seen the uptick and after the challenging year, they’re ready for it.
In San Francisco, the tourists are arriving. Some for the July fourth weekend and others just for the day.
Rob Reid and his loved one were visiting from Seattle.
“It feels like normal is coming back it does too many months of cooped up the house,” he said. They're happy to be seeing the sights again.
“Made reservations for tomorrow for the Monterey bus tour and we just got back from Alcatraz,” Reid added. They believe the city has done a good job managing the COVID-19 crisis.
It's clear from the growing crowd that others felt the same way.
“So, the fireworks cruises are sold out but that’s typically several months in advance, but we do have a lot going on during the day.” Said Chris Robbins with Blue and Gold Fleet near Pier 39.
Robbins said the COVID-19 pandemic closures were tough. But he also said the recovery is well underway, with visitors starting to come from across the country. “I think summer is going to be a slow and gradual build back up to what summer’s used to be here. I think we’re seeing that now and I think we’re just looking forward to getting back to as close to pre COVID as possible,” Robbins added.
International and business travel is still light, but hotels says things are picking up.
“You know we are so excited for this Fourth of July weekend. It really has been ticking up as we have been watching the numbers rise in the last few weeks but particularly for Fourth of July," said Kelly Powers of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. "We’re seeing probably the highest number since COVID for occupancy particularly around the Waterfront."
Meantime as crowds start to gather, the city also wants to remind people the pandemic isn't over.
“We are proud that 74% of our population has been vaccinated but we are concerned about the population that is unvaccinated especially with the delta variant so really its urging people to get vaccinated.” said Dr. Naveena Bobba, deputy director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.
Bobba said residents and visitors should follow public health guidelines including wearing a mask in crowds if you're not vaccinated.