Moscone to welcome back conference-goers by fall / Oakland reopens some public schools

It's Tuesday, March 30th.

Good afternoon, San Francisco. 

And thank goodness for hand surgeons. 

On Tuesday, the Chronicle reported that the American Society for Surgery of the Hand will hold its annual meeting at Moscone Center from September 30 to October 2, making it the first confirmed conference in the city since last year. 

“We believe we can hold an event safely,” the CEO for the hand surgery association said, adding that he expected “100%” of attendees to be vaccinated by then. 

The conference only anticipates around 1,500 people to attend in-person, but it’s a signal that bigger events may start ramping back up soon. 

Mayor Breed tweeted about the event on Tuesday, saying that she too was excited to see the Moscone Center resume “hosting conventions, bringing visitors from around the world, and helping to drive our economic recovery.”

Still, she warned, “we're not out of the woods yet… We need to stay safe over the coming months, keep our cases low, and end this pandemic.” 

With that, onto some news… 

More than half of the 4,000 residents recently surveyed say they favor closing the Upper Great Highway to car traffic for good, the Examiner reported on Monday. Supervisor Gordon Mar, whose district includes the Outer Sunset, said street closures have been “successful in its original goal” of creating a safe recreation space for people’s “physical and mental well-being.” Around 32,000 pedestrians and bicycles use the roadways each week, the study found. 

Still, around 21% of survey respondents said they wanted all four lanes back open to cars, as it was before the pandemic. “It has created very real challenges on traffic flow, congestion and neighborhood connectivity by car,” Mar said. 

The debate will continue in the months ahead, and ultimately, the Board of Supervisors will need to approve any permanent traffic changes. As Examiner reporter Carly Graf wrote, “the Upper Great Highway will look different than it did just one year ago, due in part to public momentum as well as the realities of climate change and erosion along the coast.” 

The way Supervisor Mar talks about changes to the Great Highway: “We didn’t decide that, nature did.”

Some Oakland public schools reopened on Tuesday for students in preschool through second grade for the first time in over a year. “I feel good. And happy,” one five-year-student told the Chronicle. 

To start, students will only be in the classroom for two-and-a-half hours in the afternoon for two days a week. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” Oakland Superintendent Kyla Johnson-Trammell said on Tuesday. 

Teacher shortages are also a concern in Oakland. The Chronicle said that just last Friday, the district made it known that over a dozen elementary schools and preschools would be unable to reopen this week due to a lack of staff. 

“It’s disappointing and I’m very sympathetic to the families,” school board president Shanthi Gonzales said. “I wish more teachers were volunteering.”

The first set of public schools in San Francisco are set to open on April 12. 

Quick bits: 

  • ⚾ The Giants expect that 8,000 fans will be allowed into Oracle Park (or, about 20% of the stadium’s capacity) for the team’s home opener on April 9. Right now, stubs for the month of April are only available to season ticket holders, but they should become available to the public later this week. (Examiner

  • 👀 Volunteers are walking through San Francisco’s Chinatown to patrol the neighborhood following the recent attacks against Asian Americans. “The goal is to deter and prevent these attacks from happening,” one of the volunteers said. “And my hope is that just by us being out here, first and foremost, that we’re a deterrent.” (San Francisco Public Press

  • 😔 A shooting at 9 pm on Monday at the corner of 24th and Mission Street has left one person dead and another injured. It is the eighth homicide in San Francisco this year and the first in the Mission District. (Mission Local

  • 🕵️ San Francisco has a wine thief on its hands, and apparently, they’re into high-end Italian bottles. Habibi Bar, a Russian Hill pop-up, reported a break-in last week, losing 65 bottles of mostly northern Italian wines. Earlier in March, a shop known for its northern Italian wines, Biondivino, caught an attempted burglary on camera. “Guy’s got good taste,” the shop's owner said. (Chronicle

  • 🍸 On April 6, Mr. Digby is set to open its doors on 24th and Church Street with dirty martinis and deviled eggs. For Noe Valley, a neighborhood that Eater reporter Becky Duffett said was “parched for cocktail bars,” the arrival will likely be a welcomed addition. (Eater)

And finally… Before Moscone transforms back into a convention center, it’s serving as the city’s largest vaccination site. And apparently, it has a pretty rockin’ playlist. 

The Chronicle’s Peter Hartlaub has the “behind the music” story of Moscone, and apparently it started back in February as a way to cheer up the staff on their first day. Soon, the team decided, “We should leave it on for the patients too.” 

Now, the song that played when you got vaccinated at Moscone has become a thing to remember. “Your Body is a Wonderland” by John Mayer and “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by The Police were a couple of great examples some Chronicle readers heard while getting their shot. 

Songs on Moscone’s original playlist included “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor. New tracks are now filtered in every day because eventually, the same loop of upbeat songs started driving some staff members crazy. 

That’s all for today! Thanks so much for reading and we’ll see you tomorrow!

- Nick B. 

Thanks so much to the team at Hex for sponsoring today’s newsletter.

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