Japanese restaurant Hashiri in San Francisco has been ordered to take down its igloo-like domes designed for socially distanced dining by the city’s health officials.
As reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, an officer from the Department of Public Health ordered the Michelin-starred spot to take the domes down due to their inability to provide sufficient ventilation for the diners inside them.
According to the inspection report, the enclosed nature of the domes “may not allow for adequate air flow”. San Francisco’s Department of Public Health regulations stipulate that outdoor dining structures need to be open at the sides to allow for adequate airflow.
Since early August, Hashiri had been charging $200 a head for a five-course kaiseki and omakase sushi dining experience inside the domes, which can fit four diners.
The domes caused controversy from the get-go, as they had partly been erected due to the prevalence of homeless people in the area. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the venue spent over $4,000 on three domes.
“It’s good to see other people’s perspectives, but it’s sad to see so many people want to see us fail,” Hashiri manager Kenichiro Matsuura told the paper. “There are people who come by and spit, yell, and stick their hands in people’s food. It’s really sad, and it’s really hard for us to operate around that,” he added.
To get around the problem Matsuura has removed the coverings from the domes, which are now unable to protect diners from the elements.
“As we move into fall and winter, this is going to be the biggest challenge. We’re not sure we’re going to be able to survive,” Matsuura told the SFC. For more on how restaurateurs are getting creative on order to keep their diners at a safe distance, click here for our quirky round-up.