San Francisco to Reopen Some Activities in Response to State Lifting Regional Stay at Home Order
With the State lifting the Bay Area Regional Stay at Home Order, San Francisco on January 28 will reopen key sectors allowed by the State’s purple tier, with some additional safety precautions given the City’s high case rate
San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced that San Francisco will resume some businesses and activities, beginning the morning of Thursday, January 28, after the state announced it would lift mandatory regional restrictions.
As of today, the state is lifting its Regional Stay at Home Order, in place for the Bay Area since December 17. The state is expected to assign San Francisco to a tier on its Blueprint for a Safer Economy on Tuesday, January 26. This action gives San Francisco the ability to lessen requirements under the local Stay at Home Order issued on December 4 when San Francisco and other Bay Area counties pre-emptively put safety steps in place to manage a surge of COVID-19 cases.
Based on local analysis of the public health indicators, San Francisco expects it will be assigned to the state’s purple tier – the most limited – and is proceeding with reopening accordingly. San Francisco will reopen certain businesses and activities allowed in the purple tier starting Thursday at 8:00 a.m., with specific additional safeguards to limit the spread of the virus.
“Today marks an important turning point that I hope we can continue to build upon. San Francisco pre-emptively adopted the Stay at Home Order in an attempt to bend the curve so that we could protect our residents, control the surge, and move forward again as quickly as possible,” said Mayor Breed. “We see now the sacrifices that our residents and businesses made are paying off, and I want to thank them on behalf of our City. We are moving the vaccines as quickly as possible, but there is still more virus in our community than there ever has been, and we need to proceed cautiously and remain diligent. That’s how we will move forward together.”
The activities that will reopen include outdoor dining with tables of no more than two households, up to six people, and spaced a minimum of 6 feet apart; indoor or outdoor personal services, except those that require a mask to be removed; outdoor zoos and museums; small outdoor gatherings; and expanded capacity on activities that were minimized during the Stay at Home Order. In addition, San Francisco will allow hotels to resume operations for tourism use, but San Francisco will maintain its mandatory local travel quarantine. San Francisco will continue requiring travelers from outside of the Bay Area to quarantine for 10 days, aligning with the State requirement necessitating that hotels only accept and honor reservations made by travelers from outside the Bay Area that are for 10 days or more.
San Francisco will continue the requirement first put in place by the State that limits non-essential businesses from operating or anyone from gathering with members outside of their household between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. People can continue to leave their homes during that time for any other reason. This requirement will remain in effect until San Francisco is assigned to the State’s red tier.
“Thanks to the hard work of everyone in San Francisco, we have been able to slow down this surge of COVID-19 cases and with our continued perseverance, we can prevent future surges and continue to safely reopen more activities,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “To do that, we must continue all of the preventive measures that we all know well, even as we roll out the vaccine. Staying vigilant will be critical to our long term success.”
The Bay Area Regional Stay at Home Order was put into place by the State of California on December 17 due to surging cases and hospitalizations that threatened ICU capacity. At this point, the region’s ICU capacity has stabilized and cases and hospitalizations are trending down, prompting the State to lift the order. San Francisco’s actual ICU capacity holds steady at more than 25% and its hospitalization and case rates are declining. Though San Francisco’s case rate is still nearly twice the rate that would be required to advance to the red tier, San Francisco will proceed in lifting its local Stay at Home Order to resume activities allowed by the State in the purple tier, with certain additional safety limitations.
San Francisco experienced a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in the fall that escalated further in December. The average number of COVID cases increased more than tenfold from 32 in mid-October to 372 at the surge’s peak. Currently, San Francisco is currently averaging 261 new COVID-19 cases per day; however, the case rate is declining. Because of the prevalence of the virus, and particularly considering the emergence of new, extremely contagious variants, it remains critical that San Franciscans continue with the preventive measures that limit the spread of the virus, like wearing a face covering whenever you are outside your home, including during exercise; washing hands regularly; and maintaining physical distance. To continue on the path of re-opening, San Francisco’s case rate and the hospitalization rate will need to keep declining.
The City is taking measured steps in order to balance the public health harms of COVID-19 transmission and public health harms of economic stress. The activities allowed under the purple tier are primarily outdoors or, when indoors, are restricted to low-volume activities that minimize the number of people interacting. San Francisco is updating its health order to come into close alignment with the State, although there remain a few areas of departure where it is important to minimize the risk to public health in a dense urban environment.
“The reopening of our San Francisco business community is a tremendous step to our economic recovery. The sacrifices we’re making to slow and crush the holiday surge are working,” said Joaquín Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “While we are cautiously optimistic, we know this pandemic has evolved with new strains of the virus that are more contagious. The opening of our economy must not come at the expense of our public health. We must remain vigilant for our community and for one another including our essential workers and vulnerable residents who are bearing the brunt of COVID-19 cases and continue to follow safety measures outlined in our health orders.”
On Wednesday, January 27, the San Francisco Department of Public Health will issue final health and safety guidelines to reopen activities allowed under the purple tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safe Economy, effective 8:00 a.m. on Thursday January 28. The following activities will be opened or expanded under the new health order.
Activities to Resume Thursday, January 28
The following activities may be reopened/allowed to resume:
- Personal Services. Indoor and outdoor personal services establishments, including hair and nail salons, barbers, tattoo, piercing, and massage services may reopen, but facial coverings are required to be worn at all times. Services that would necessitate the removal of facial coverings are not allowed at this point.
- Outdoor Dining. Outdoor dining may resume. It is limited to up to 6 people total from up to two households at a table. Per State requirements, barriers between tables can no longer serve as an alternative to distancing tables 6 feet or more. Live entertainment is allowed except for singing or brass or wind instruments.
- Outdoor Museums and Zoos. Outdoor operations for museums and zoos may resume, though zoos are capped at 50% capacity not including personnel. Concessions are allowed under the guidance of retail or outdoor dining according to the type of concessions.
- Outdoor Family Entertainment Centers. Family entertainment such as skate parks, batting cages, miniature golf, kart racing, and laser tag or paintball may resume outdoor operations. Roller and ice skating rinks may operate at 25% capacity. Concessions are allowed under the guidance of retail or outdoor dining according to the type of concessions.
- Open Air Boats and Busses. Open air boats and busses may operate outdoor operations of up to 12 passengers or physically distanced groups of 12, if social distancing can be maintained between groups. Concessions are allowed under the guidance of retail or outdoor dining according to the type of concessions.
- Small Gatherings. Members of up to 3 households with a maximum of 12 people total may gather outdoors if social distance can be maintained and no food or drink is being consumed. If food or drink is being consumed, only members from two households of up to 6 people total is allowed.
- Indoor Fitness. 1:1 personal training is allowed to resume indoors with no more than 3 people, including the customer, the trainer and a support staff.
- Indoor Funerals. Indoor funerals may take place with up to 12 people.
The following activities may expand their operating capacity:
- Grocery Stores. Standalone grocery stores may operate at 50% customer capacity, not including personnel, up from 35%.
- Retail. All retail including low-contact retail services such as dog groomers, shoe, electronics and similar repair services may operate at 25% customer capacity, not including personnel, up from 20%. For enclosed shopping malls, any common areas and food courts must remain closed.
- Hotels and Lodging. Hotels and lodging may accept reservations for tourist use from in-state and out of state guests. Out of Bay Area guests are required to quarantine for 10 days and must make a reservation for 10 days or longer in order to do so. Indoor gyms, meeting rooms, ballrooms and dining must remain closed, though outdoor dining can resume and room service can continue.
- Outdoor Fitness. Removes the 12-person cap on outdoor fitness so long as social distancing can be met, and increases the fitness class cap to 25.
- Youth sports. Youth sports without spectators are allowed if it is part of a childcare or out of school time (OST) program or part of an organized and supervised youth sports program. Additionally, low-contact youth sports that are allowed by the state in the purple tier may resume such as dancing, biking, no-contact martial arts, lawn bowling, or bocce ball. Distancing and face coverings must be in place at all times.
- Outdoor Recreation. Up to 12 people from up to three households may engage in recreational activities that allow social distancing, including low-contact sports such as hiking, biking, dancing, and including those that share equipment such as balls and Frisbees.
- Golf and Tennis. Expands to allow foursomes for golf, but limits to one household per cart and requires staggered tee times. Expands to allow doubles for tennis limited to members from no more than three households. Pickleball remains limited to singles per State requirements.
- Outdoor Religious and Political Gatherings. Removes the 200-person cap to allow religious and political activities to take place unrestricted as long as social distancing can be maintained.
The City will post the revised Health Order with detailed requirements to its webpage on Wednesday, January 27, effective Thursday, January 28 at 8:00 a.m. The reopening of businesses and activities will increase travel and interaction throughout the city, which risks increasing community spread of the virus and an increase in cases and hospitalizations. With new more contagious variants, it is unclear how the virus will respond to more activity. Conversely, as the vaccine is distributed and increasing numbers of people are inoculated against the virus, particularly those who are most vulnerable, San Francisco hopes to gain momentum in reopening the City and beginning its recovery.
Public health officials will regularly assess the Key Public Health Indicators, particularly new positive case counts and hospitalizations to ensure San Francisco has the necessary resources available for those who contract COVID-19. The phasing of additional activities is structured to maximize the City’s ability to track these local health indicators and ensure that San Francisco continues to manage its risk and to protect public health. While San Francisco recognizes and is attempting to align with the State’s thresholds, the City will continue on a reopening path based on its local health indicators and the unique challenges and successes of its local reopening. San Francisco’s reopening updates are available online at SF.gov/reopening.