San Francisco to Reopen and Expand Additional Businesses and Activities
Beginning Thursday, April 15, San Francisco will resume indoor live-audience events, performances, meetings, and receptions with capacity limits and following other protocols, and will expand existing guidelines for outdoor live-audience events, performances, and other activities
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced that, starting tomorrow, San Francisco will reopen and expand additional activities that are allowed by the State for counties assigned to the orange tier. These activities include indoor live-audience events and performances and private events such as conferences and receptions. In alignment with the State’s guidelines, San Francisco will also expand the number of individuals allowed to participate in indoor and outdoor social gatherings and will loosen some restrictions on other activities, including dining, outdoor bars, retail, and recreation.
Many of the activities that are resuming may reopen because of guidelines recently released by the State. With some exceptions, San Francisco will align with the State’s guidelines to reopen and expand newly permitted activities under the orange tier. New and expanded businesses and activities may resume starting Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 8:00 a.m. as long as they comply with required capacity limits and other safety protocols.
“San Francisco is continuing to reopen and this latest round of activities and events that can start to resume is an exciting step for our city,” said Mayor Breed. “Throughout our response to COVID-19 and our reopening efforts, we’ve focused on moving forward in a way that protects public health, and we’re going to need everyone to keep doing their part to keep our community safe. Remember to keep wearing your mask, continue to keep your distance from others, and get tested if you feel sick. We are still in a pandemic, and we can’t let our guard down – but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find ways to adapt to our new normal, have fun, and enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer.”
Although San Francisco remains assigned to the orange tier on the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, its COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other health equity metrics have remained stable over the past several weeks. With the recent guidance released by the State, San Francisco is taking the opportunity to reopen live events and performances and private events and to expand additional activities within the orange tier. Key criteria for the resumption and continuation of these expansions will be a stable or declining rate of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. As public health officials continue to monitor San Francisco’s health indicators, the City may need to pause or rollback activities if data suggests that COVID-19 is significantly increasing within the community again.
Under the new Health Order, San Francisco will open indoor ticketed and seated events and performances up to 35% capacity with an approved Health and Safety Plan, as long as all participants keep their masks on except when eating or drinking in designated concessions areas away from their seats, distancing requirements can be met, and participants show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test before they enter the venue. Venues may create vaccinated-only sections with relaxed distancing requirements, subject to specified criteria and an approved health and safety plan. For venues operating at 15% capacity or less, with no more than 200 people, and that do not have any vaccinated-only sections, an approved Health and Safety Plan and proof of vaccination or a negative test will not be required.
Private events such as meetings, conventions, and receptions may also resume indoors up to 150 participants with assigned seating and proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Such events may resume outdoors following the same guidelines for up to 300 people, or up to 100 people without proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test.
Outdoor ticketed venues for live-audience events and performances may expand capacity up to 50% under existing guidelines. Like indoor venues, outdoor venues may create vaccinated-only sections with relaxed distancing restrictions, subject to specified criteria and an approved health and safety plan. An approved health and safety plan is also required for outdoor ticketed events greater than 1,000 audience members, and a health and safety plan must be submitted to the Health Officer (but does not require pre-approval) before the event for outdoor ticketed events of between 500 and 1,000 audience members. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test is required by all participants if the outdoor event includes 4,000 or more audience members, or 100 or more audience members and food and beverages are served. In all cases, patrons must wear facial coverings for the duration of the event, except for times when they are eating or drinking.
San Francisco will also expand capacity for indoor and outdoor social gatherings based on the State’s new guidance, as well as a number of activities impacted by those changes, including drive-ins, tour operators, childcare, sports and recreation, and institutes of higher education. Under the amendments to the Health Order, groups of up to 50 may now gather together outdoors with face coverings and distancing, reduced to 25 if food or drink is being consumed. Indoor gatherings may resume at the lesser of 25% capacity or 25 individuals without food or beverages. In addition to the activities above, a number of changes to the Health Order will allow additional expansions for outdoor dining, outdoor bars, film, and indoor family entertainment as well as the easing of some safety protocols for other sectors including retail, hotels, and indoor dining. Community centers serving seniors and adult day care will also be able to reopen to 25% capacity beginning tomorrow, April 15.
“I want to thank the people of this great City for doing their part to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “Please keep up the good work. We are watching with growing concern at the variant-fueled surges taking place in other parts of the country and in Europe. The last thing we all want is to rollback our reopening. If we continue to double down on the masking, physical distancing, and limiting of social gatherings with people outside one’s household, we can keep this disease in check. Remember, masks on, stay strong.”
San Francisco has maintained a stable average between 30 and 40 new COVID-19 cases a day since early March 2021, and is currently averaging 35 new cases per day. Likewise, COVID-19 hospitalizations are also down significantly since February 2021. Although they remain low, those trends have flattened and prevented San Francisco from meeting the State’s criteria to move into the yellow tier this week. With the growing prevalence of variants in the Bay Area and the surge in cases in Michigan and the northeast, public health officials are closely monitoring any changes to cases that may indicate increasing contagion.
Countering these concerns to some degree are San Francisco’s ongoing vaccination efforts. At this time, nearly 60% of San Francisco’s population has received the first dose of vaccine, as have over 84% of the City’s residents over 65. Effective yesterday, April 13, anyone over the age of 16 is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in San Francisco. Although consistent supply of COVID-19 vaccine remains a challenge preventing the City from distributing vaccines to its full capacity, it continues to make significant progress toward vaccinating people who live and work in San Francisco.
“Resuming indoor meetings, receptions, and events are key to San Francisco’s economic foundation,” said Anne Taupier, Acting Director of Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “These activities drive the meetings, celebrations, conferences, and conventions that generate hundreds of millions of dollars for our economy and are essential business activities for our hotels, restaurants, and other large and small venues. This is a major step for the industries and workers who have suffered most significantly over the past year. With our health indicators as low and as stable as they are OEWD applauds the City’s decision to expand the activities within the orange tier to maximize economic activity with appropriate safety protocols.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health will issue final health and safety guidelines to reopen activities allowed under the orange tier of the State’s updated Blueprint for a Safer Economy, with some additional local restrictions, effective at 8:00 a.m. Thursday, April 15, 2021. The City will post the revised Health Order with detailed requirements to its webpage by the end of the day today April 14, 2021. A list of the activities that will be reopened or expanded under the new Health Order can be found below.
Although San Francisco’s vaccination rate is above the state average, it is not yet sufficient to prevent a fourth surge without continued adherence to public health guidelines. Health officials continue to emphasize the need for masking and social distancing by all, including those who have been vaccinated, when outside their homes in order to limit the impact of variants. Likewise, businesses are encouraged to have outdoor options wherever possible. People at risk for severe illness with COVID-19, such as unvaccinated older adults and unvaccinated individuals with health risks, and members of their households, should defer participating at this time in activities with other people outside their household where taking protective measures of wearing face masks and social distancing may be difficult, especially indoors or in crowded spaces.
As public health officials continue to monitor San Francisco’s health indicators, the City may choose to pause higher-risk activities or implement a lagged approach to reopening subsequent tiers in order to ensure sufficient analysis about how health indicators have responded to the reopening of activities, manage risk, and protect public health.
Activities to Resume Thursday, April 15, 2021
The following activities may be reopened:
- Indoor Ticketed and Seated Performances, Spectator Sports and other Live Events
- Indoor ticketed and seated events such as live sports, theater arts and musical performances, and graduation ceremonies may open up to 35% capacity for in-state audience members with an approved Health and Safety Plan, so long as the State’s social distancing guidelines can be maintained. Suites and boxes are limited to 25% capacity and 3 households. All participants must keep their masks on except when eating or drinking in designated concession areas with at least 6 feet distance between households. All California residents over the age of 12 must show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and any out-of-state visitors must show proof of vaccination.
- Vaccinated-only section. A venue may lift the distancing requirement and operate certain sections at 100% capacity, including suites, if the operator meets the State’s minimum requirements and (1) confirms that all patrons 16 and up are fully vaccinated before they enter the venue, (2) requires a negative COVID-19 test for any patrons who are between the ages 2-15 and accompanying a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated, (3) requires all patrons in the vaccination-only section to wear face coverings at all times unless otherwise exempted under the face covering order, and (4) receives advance approval of a Health and Safety Plan from the Health Officer. All patrons in the vaccinated-only section count towards the venue’s permissible occupancy.
- An approved health and safety plan is not required for events with no more than 200 people in the audience or up to 15% capacity, whichever is fewer, and that does not have a vaccination-only section, but those events need to comply with all the other safety rules.
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination is not required for events with no more than 200 people in the audience or up to 15% capacity, whichever is fewer, if no food or beverages are served nor is it required for events with fewer than 50 people in the audience that include food or beverage service.
- Indoor Meetings and Private Events
- Meetings, conferences, receptions, and other private events may resume indoors with up to 150 participants in reserved or assigned seating that meets physical distancing requirements. All participants must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
- Food and beverage allowed under indoor dining guidelines.
- Outdoor Meetings and Private Events
- If the event is conducted outdoors, up to 100 participants are allowed without proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test, and up to 300 participants with proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test.
- Food and beverage allowed under outdoor dining guidelines
- Community Centers serving Seniors and Adult Day Care Facilities
- Senior community centers and adult day care facilities may reopen to 25% capacity up to 25 people. Food and beverage services or activities remain closed at this time.
The following activities may expand their operating capacity under current guidelines:
- Outdoor Ticketed and Seated Performances, Spectator Sports and other Live Events
- Outdoor ticketed and seated events with live audiences may expand up to 50% capacity with an approved Health and Safety Plan, so long as the State’s social distancing guidelines can be maintained, all participants keep their masks on except when eating or drinking in their assigned seats. California residents over the age of 12 must show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test, and any out-of-state visitors must show proof that they are fully vaccinated.
- Vaccinated-only section. A venue may lift the distancing requirement and operate certain sections at 100% capacity, including suites, if the operator meets the State’s minimum requirements and (1) confirms that all patrons 16 and up are fully vaccinated before they enter the venue, (2) requires a negative COVID-19 test for any patrons who are between the ages 2-15 and accompanying a parent or guardian who is fully vaccinated, (3) requires all patrons in the vaccination-only section to wear face coverings at all times unless otherwise exempted under the face covering order or eating or drinking in their seat, and (4) receives advance approval of a Health and Safety Plan from the Health Officer. All patrons in the vaccinated-only section count towards the venue’s permissible occupancy.
- Events with fewer than 4,000 audience members that do not include food or beverages do not require proof of vaccination or a negative test.
- Events between 500 and 1,000 audience members that do not include food and beverages require a health and safety plan to be submitted to DPH but does not require approval.
- Events with fewer than 100 audience members and without a vaccination-only section do not require an approved Health and Safety Plan nor proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
- Outdoor arts, music, and theater performances and festivals
- Organized outdoor arts and performance events may take place without reservations and seating requirements for up to 50 audience members with a health and safety plan submitted at least 5 days before the event. Festivals may be attended by either in-state residents, or out-of-state visitors who show proof of full vaccination. Social distancing between audience members must be maintained.
- Seated concessions are expanded to groups of 8 individuals following outdoor dining or bar health guidelines.
- Outdoor Dining
- Outdoor dining will expand to up to 8 people per table without any limitation on number of households. Group reservations will expand to up to 25 people and allow mingling between tables with specific safety protocols.
- Bars, Wineries, Breweries, and Distilleries
- Outdoor bars may expand to up to 8 people per table without limitations to number of households and group reservations may be made following outdoor dining rules.
- Indoor bars, wineries, breweries and distilleries that do not serve bona fide meals remain closed.
- Indoor Family Entertainment
- Capacity may increase for family recreation facilities allowed within the orange tier of up to 50% if all participants provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
- Drive-in Events
- More than one household per vehicle at 25% vehicle capacity up to 25 people, if no food and beverages are consumed.
- Tour Boats and Buses
- Capacity may expand with no limit on the number of passengers.
- Indoor areas may open following required safety protocols.
- Film and Media Production including Live Streaming and Broadcasting
- Indoor and outdoor film production may proceed with up to 50 people in a single location with required testing and other safety protocols in place or if covered under the “COVID-19 Return to Work Agreement.”
- All other productions must have an approved Health and Safety plan.
- Childcare and Youth Out of School Time Programs
- Outdoors capacity may expand to up to 50 participants, excluding personnel and youth may participate in more than 2 programs at a time
- Indoors capacity may expand to up to 25 participants, excluding personnel
- Adult Education, Vocational Education, and Institutes of Higher Education
- Outdoor classes may expand to 50 participants
- In-person tours may apply following K-12 safety rules
- Institutions are strongly encouraged to require unvaccinated students to quarantine for 10 days upon returning to campus or arriving from out-of-State for nonessential travel, and they must accommodate any unvaccinated students who wish to quarantine for 10 days after such travel.
- Indoor Sports and Recreation
- Informal indoor recreation can include up to 12 people with no limit on the number of households.
- Indoor recreation taking place in an organized and supervised context may expand to stable groups of 25 participants on each team and spectators are allowed consistent with rules set by the State.
- Competitions may resume with teams from the State of California. No out of state travel or matches with out of state teams.
- Youth and adults are encouraged but not required to participate in no more than 2 teams or programs a time, except that indoor high-contact sports must be limited to one activity at a time.
- Indoor swimming pools may allow up to two swimmers per lane maintaining 25% capacity and face coverings outside the pool.
- Outdoor Sports and Recreation
- Informal outdoor recreation can include up to 25 people with no limit on the number of households.
- Outdoor recreation taking place in an organized and supervised context may expand to include stable groups of 50 participants per team and spectators are allowed consistent with outdoor gatherings and rules set by the State.
- Competitions may resume with teams from throughout the State of California - no out of state travel or matches with out of state teams.
- Youth and adults are encouraged but not required to participate in no more than 2 teams or programs a time except that if they participate in an indoor high-contact sport they may only participate in that one program at a time.
- Outdoor pools may expand to full capacity and up to 4 swimmers per lane with distancing and face covering requirements outside of the pool.
- Outdoor playgrounds may expand to full capacity with distancing requirements.
- Indoor Gatherings
- While still strongly discouraged, small indoor social gatherings are expanded to up to the lesser of 25% capacity or 25 people with face coverings on at all times and distancing and ventilation measures encouraged. Special rules and allowances apply to small indoor gatherings involving fully vaccinated individuals.
- Indoor Religious Activities
- Indoor religious activities remain capped at up to 50% capacity. Capacity guidelines apply to houses of worship as well as homes and other indoor settings, following safety protocols for indoor religious services. Alternatively, individuals can gather indoors informally for religious exercise under the small gathering rules.
- Outdoor Gatherings
- Small outdoor social gatherings are expanded to allow up to 50 people when face coverings are worn at all times – 25 if attendees are eating or drinking.
The following activities may loosen safety protocols as described below
- Indoor Dining
- Indoor dining will expand to include table top cooking and the 11pm end to service requirement is lifted. Tables are still limited to 6 people from up to 3 households.
- Retail and Grocery stores are no longer strongly urged to offer special hours for unvaccinated older adults or otherwise vulnerable patrons.
- Bulk bins no longer require special signage.
- Cleaning personnel are no longer required to wear a non-vented N-95, though they must be provided at no cost if requested. They must continue to wear a well-fitted mask.
- Spa services may be provided in room following guidelines for indoor personal services. If requested, the spa services provider must provide a non-vented N-95 mask at no cost to its personnel.
- Gyms and Fitness
- Stationary aerobic equipment (like spin bikes and treadmills) can be placed 6 feet apart and aerobic fitness classes that use stationary equipment can resume with 6 foot spacing between participants, with a DPH-approved ventilation measure.
- Zoos, Aquariums and Museums
- Group reservations and guided tours may resume.
The State has provided guidance on using proof of vaccination and negative COVID-19 test for additional capacities. Businesses should consult the “Addendum to Blueprint Activity & Business Tiers Chart – Tested and Fully Vaccinated Individuals and Sections.” Pursuant to that guidance:
- People are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 at ≥2 weeks after they have received the second dose in a 2-dose series (Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna), or ≥2 weeks after they have received a single-dose vaccine (Johnson and Johnson [J&J]/Janssen).
- Proof of a negative COVID-19 test means a PCR test taken not more than 72 hours before the event or an antigen test taken not more than 24 hours before the event.
San Francisco’s reopening updates will be available online tomorrow, April 15 at SF.gov/reopening.