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San Francisco holiday event returns for the first time since the pandemic

San Francisco’s Winter Walk, which turns several streets into an outdoor promenade aimed at offering a boost to local business, is returning to the city Friday for the first time since the pandemic. 

Workers were getting parts of Stockton Street ready for the event Thursday. And two blocks near Union Square, along with Maiden Lane, are also being decked out in blue. 

“The Winter Walk will have a winter market where you can buy your stocking stuffers and all those last-minute finds,” said the CEO of the Union Square Alliance, Marisa Rodriguez. “It’s going to have performances, a stage, and then Off the Grid will be hosting some really amazing food trucks.”

Rodriquez said the city hasn’t seen the event happen since before the pandemic. 

“Union Square is seeing a rebound. We’re really happy. You know, a lot of work has gone into this, it takes really a village,” Rodriguez said. 

In addition to a holiday ice rink, a tree and decorations — there’s also very visible police presence. 

Stores in the area say they’re ready for it. 

“I’m happy to have this back,” Taylor Enstall with Samuel Scheuer Fine Linens. “I’m hoping that it brings back more of that excitement and more revenue for the stores around.” 

Also Thursday, Mayor London Breed was across town in the Inner Richmond neighborhood to talk about legislation that aims to support small businesses and fill storefronts. 

“San Francisco is, in the past, is mostly notorious for saying ‘no.’ Our new motto, how do we get to ‘yes.’ How do we say ‘yes’ to small businesses, how do we say ‘yes’ to new opportunities, how do we make it easier for people to set up shop,” Breed said. 

NBC Bay Area spoke to several visitors Thursday who said they had noticed more empty storefronts and fewer visitors than they remember, but still felt that there was plenty to do. 

“I really think it is still a delightful place to come and enjoy,” said Jenny Tippett, vising from Marin County. “It seems like it’s really quiet so it seems like people are staying away, but they shouldn’t.”

The anticipation for the 10-day event was clear over at Union Square. 

“They usually have local stuff, so I think it’s great,” said one shopper there. “I wish it was open today.”

Source: NBC Bay Area

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