San Francisco Continues to Pause Reopening for Most Activities and Businesses
Starting July 13th, San Francisco Zoo and Gardens can reopen with a safety plan, shoppers can use reusable shopping bags, and City will provide clarification for safe boating and fishing practices. Additional reopening dependent on improvement of COVID-19 impact on City
San Francisco, CA – Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced that the City will substantially continue the pause on reopening that began June 29 until the COVID-19 Key Health Indicators improve and the spread of the virus is brought under control once again. San Francisco is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 transmission, cases, and hospitalizations that is forcing the City to slow down reopening to protect community health.
On July 13th, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens will be allowed to reopen with approved safety plans, shoppers will be able to resume using reusable bags, and boat and fishing expeditions will have additional guidelines for how to do those activities safely, with up to 12 people.
Personal services such as haircuts, massages, tattoos and body piercing, manicures and pedicures, will be the next groups of businesses considered for reopening, but only those services where both clients and providers can be masked at all times. The Department of Public Health will continue to monitor the Key Health Indicators for trends and will provide an update on July 15 on the health indicators and other information that will inform the status of further reopening.
The remaining activities and businesses that were previously scheduled to reopen either June 29 or July 13, will remain on pause. These include indoor dining, outdoor bars without food, indoor museums and aquariums, outdoor swimming pools, and real estate open houses by appointment.
Businesses and activities that are currently allowed may continue operating at this time. The City continues to encourage San Franciscans to avoid gatherings and wear face coverings when leaving home, and to get tested for COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is still too prevalent in our community, and we need to be vigilant and take all the precautions that are proven to slow the spread,” said Mayor Breed. “Unfortunately, reopening businesses that will encourage gathering and interacting with people outside of your own household is not the safe thing to do right now. I know people want to continue reopening, but in order for that to happen we need to once again flatten the curve so that we’re able to do so.”
As of this morning, San Francisco had recorded 4,316 cases of COVID-19 and 50 deaths. One of the key indicators of COVID-19 prevalence in the City, the number of new cases per day per 100,000 people, had risen to 7.4, well above the goal of 1.8 and a sharp rise since we began reopening on May 18, when it was 3.5. The rate of increase in hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients, which does not include transfers from other counties, is also a key indicator that affects the pace of reopening. Our goal is to keep that rate below 10%, and today’s indicator shows an increase of 22%. Our hospital capacity, which includes the percentage of acute care and ICU beds that are available, is currently within the acceptable range at 34% for acute care beds and 28% for ICU, but could be quickly filled in a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Modeling indicates that the reproductive rate of the virus is above 1 and increasing, meaning that each person with COVID-19 is infecting more than 1 other person and contributing to a rapid spread of the virus that could overwhelm our hospital system, as it has in other parts of the state and country. San Francisco is currently exceeding the testing goal of 1,800 tests per day, with 2,584 average tests per day and a total of 174,365 tests conducted to date.
“We are committed to continue to make decisions based on the data, science, and facts about San Francisco and the Bay Area region,” said Dr. Colfax. “Together, we can all improve the picture and speed up the pace of reopening by wearing face coverings, keeping your distance from others, washing your hands, and getting tested. San Franciscans know what to do, we flattened the curve before and I am hopeful that we can beat back the current surge if we all do our part.”
The Department of Public Health will monitor the Health Indicators, the risk of specific activities, the estimated reproductive rate of the virus, the regional data and the state’s actions in determining when and how to move forward, pause, or dial back reopening. If the spread continues at the rate it is going now, it is probable that our City’s hospitals could be overwhelmed with cases and many people could die. However, that is not inevitable, and every San Francisco resident can contribute to preventing that outcome by following the precautions and staying home as much as possible.
“Reopening the economy while in the middle of an active global pandemic was never going to be easy,” said Assessor Carmen Chu, co-chair of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force. “But each of us doing our part to stay distanced and wear a mask, combined with the City’s approach of anchoring reopening decisions based on real-time on-the-ground health indicators will help us navigate a way forward.”
“San Franciscans have stepped up and beaten this virus back before, so there’s reason for hope,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Now we all need to dig deep and do it again, for the sake of our City and for our small businesses and workers who are anxious to get back to business. They’re there for us, so let’s be there for them now by doing everything we can to stop the spread today and get them back open quickly and safely.”
San Franciscans can use the same public health principles that are informing the City’s reopening plans to help guide individual choices. When you think about risk of exposure and transmission, keep these things in mind:
- How risky is the activity? Five questions to ask.
- Is the activity indoors or outdoors? Outdoors is much safer.
- Does it involve gathering with people outside your household? That is riskier and should be avoided.
- Can you wear face coverings at all times?
- Can you maintain at least six feet of physical distancing?
- Can you easily wash your hands, and is the environment properly cleaned?
Think about any activity in terms of these four characteristics:
- Number – The more people who are together, the more interactions take place.
- Frequency – The more often people interact, the higher the risk of virus transmission.
- Duration – The longer the amount of time spent together, the higher the risk of virus transmission.
- Distance – The closer together people are, the higher the risk of virus transmission.
The Health Directives outlining the requirements for zoos, boats and bags will be posted here by Monday, July 13. More information about the reopening timeline can be found at https://sf.gov/step-by-step/reopening-san-francisco.