News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

San Francisco Reopens and Expands Businesses and Activities as it moves into the State's Orange Tier

Beginning Wednesday, March 24, San Francisco will reopen indoor offices, outdoor bars, and indoor recreation, as well as expand outdoor entertainment, and a number of activities in accordance with State restrictions and additional local limits

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced that San Francisco will resume most businesses and activities that are allowed by the State in the orange tier for counties with moderate transmission levels, following the City’s assignment to that tier. With some exceptions, San Francisco’s reopening will align with what is permitted by the State. New and expanded businesses and activities can reopen starting Wednesday, March 24 at 8:00am, as long as they comply with required safety protocols.

As of today, March 23, San Francisco has met the State’s criteria to advance to the less restrictive orange tier on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, based on its COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other health equity metrics. With this move, San Francisco will open non-essential offices up to 25% capacity, bars and breweries for outdoor service, and some indoor family recreation up to 25% capacity. San Francisco has also established a timeline to resume outdoor arts, theater, and music performances and festivals for audiences of up to 50 people beginning April 1 and is working to create guidelines for outdoor spectator sports and large outdoor entertainment venues as well. In addition to the activities being reopened, a significant number of activities reopened in previous tiers will expand capacity, including all retail, personal services and equipment rental, outdoor and indoor dining, outdoor and indoor fitness, indoor religious activities, indoor movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums, and open air bus and boat tours. Most indoor businesses will be allowed at up to 50%, with exceptions for non-essential offices, indoor family entertainment, gyms and fitness centers, and indoor recreational facilities.

“Thanks to the continued efforts of San Franciscans to follow public health guidelines, along with our efforts to vaccinate people as quickly as we can, we’re at a place in our fight against this virus where we can continue to move forward with reopening San Francisco,” said Mayor Breed. “This year has been so tough on so many—from our kids and families, to our small businesses and their employees—and this move to the orange tier and reopening more activities and businesses than we have since last March gives us all more hope for the future. We’re expanding more activities and opportunities for San Franciscans to have fun and enjoy their city, and making it easier on our businesses to operate and recover. Now we need to all keep doing our part to get San Francisco on the road to recovery by wearing masks when we go out, keeping our distance from others, getting tested if we feel sick, and showing up to get vaccinated when it’s our turn.”

In addition, several indoor sports and recreation activities may open and outdoor recreational activities may expand to increase capacity and number of attendees. Outdoor pools may open at up to 50% capacity and certain outdoor tournaments can take place in golf, tennis, and pickleball so long as social distancing requirements can be maintained and spectators do not attend. Indoor pools may open at up to 25% capacity and indoor sports and recreation for both youth and adults may resume at 25% capacity for many sports activities, including some moderate and high impact sports, such as basketball and martial arts, with specific safety protocols in place. Outdoor childcare programs and all out of school time programs for youth other than sports programs may increase to up to 27 individuals including personnel, and San Francisco intends to resume overnight camps as of June 1.

With the move into the orange tier, San Francisco is expanding the number of people able to participate in outdoor gatherings to 25. Following CDC guidelines, the City has also announced guidelines to resume indoor small gatherings in residences for up to 12 people of up to three households. Outdoor activities remain safer than indoor activities and groups are encouraged to continue gathering outdoors whenever possible, particularly if they include unvaccinated individuals.

San Francisco’s new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to decline. At this time, San Francisco is averaging 31 new cases a day, which is comparable to where the City was in mid-November before the most recent surge. Although San Francisco’s new cases and hospitalization have been trending in a positive direction, the growing prevalence of the U.K. (B.1.1.7), West Coast (B.1.427 and B.1.428) and the South African (B.1.351) variants in the Bay Area as well as the Brazilian variant (P.1), which was recently detected in California, represent a potential increased risk of contagiousness and greater community spread.

Continued adherence to public health mitigation measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing will limit the impact of variants, particularly as more indoor activities continue to open and expand. As public health officials continue to monitor San Francisco’s health indicators, the City may choose to implement a phased or 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.

“The progress that we are making as a City is a testament to our shared sense of commitment to following the health guidelines and to doing what it takes to slow the spread of COVID-19,” says Dr. Grant Colfax. “Our collective efforts have saved countless lives, but we are not ready to let our guard down just yet without more vaccine and the ongoing threat of variants that spread rapidly. We need to keep up the good work so that we can continue on this forward trajectory. Wear your masks, practice physical distancing, choose outdoor over indoor activities, get your vaccine when you are eligible and, as some of us head back into our workspaces, remember to get tested if you experience any symptoms and stay home if you are sick. The light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter every day; we just have to get more vaccine and buckle down a little longer until we reach the end.”

Further supporting San Francisco’s reopening is the City’s ongoing vaccination efforts. At this time, nearly 40% of San Francisco’s population has received the first dose of vaccine, as have 77% of the City’s residents over 65. Last week, the City began allowing anyone over the age of 16 with a qualifying underlying health condition to receive a vaccine and has the capacity to vaccinate 20,000 people a day. Although limitations to consistent COVID-19 vaccine supply remain 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.

The City is making headway in minimizing the risk presented by the coronavirus through its vaccination efforts and its balanced approach to reopening and harm reduction behaviors. This allows key activities central to the City’s economy, such as offices, dining, and some forms of entertainment to begin to reopen. While the City is updating its health order to come into near alignment with the State reopening guidelines, it continues to limit some activities, particularly those where people to gather indoors without masks or for extended amounts of time, in order to minimize the risk to public health.

Similarly, San Francisco continues to focus on harm reduction approaches to managing public health. Health officials continue to emphasize the need for masking and social distancing by all, including those who have been vaccinated when outside their homes, prioritizing the reopening of outdoor activities, and encouraging businesses to have outdoor options wherever possible. People at risk for severe illness with COVID-19, such as unvaccinated older adults and individuals with health risks, and members of their household are urged to continue taking strong precautions by choosing lower-risk options whenever possible. 

“After a year of restricted economic activities, San Franciscans are able to celebrate this milestone in our reopening. This progress means our restaurants, retailers, gyms, bars, museums, personal service establishments, offices, and other businesses can open their doors to more patrons which will in turn help preserve and grow jobs in industries that were hit hard during the height of this pandemic,” said Anne Taupier, Acting Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. “Furthermore, bringing more people back into our neighborhood commercial corridors will be vital to the overall health of the city and its economic recovery.”

With this in mind, 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 Blueprint for a Safer Economy, with some additional local restrictions, effective as of 8:00am Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The City will post the revised Health Order with detailed requirements to its webpage by the end of the day today March 23, 2021. Under the new Health Order, the following activities will be opened or expanded.

Activities to Resume Wednesday, March 24, 2021

The following activities may be reopened:

  • Offices
    • Indoor non-essential offices of 20 or more employees may reopen at up to 25% capacity, including meeting and conference rooms at 25% (though use of conference rooms should be minimized).
    • Indoor offices of fewer than 20 employees must reduce their capacity to whatever allows for required 6 feet of physical distancing between employees at all times.
  • Indoor family entertainment
    • Indoor bowling alleys, mini golf, pool halls, and other family entertainment where individuals may readily maintain at least 6 feet of distance may open up to 25% capacity with groups consisting of members of one household.
    • Concessions are allowed following indoor dining rules in a separate room or with 12 feet of space from other activities. 
  • Indoor recreation
    • Indoor recreational facilities may open to 25% capacity up to 100 people.
    • Up to 12 participants from up to 3 households may participate in low-contact indoor recreation (and from up to 4 households in the case of indoor tennis and pickleball).
    • Indoor organized sports for youth and adults may resume with stable groups of up to 16 participants, with no household limitation. For moderate- or high-contact sport involving middle school, high school or adult participants, regular testing and a COVID-19 prevention plan must be in place. Elementary age children may not participate in moderate or high contact sports. Spectators are not allowed in any context except the necessary supervision of children in youth sports. Adults may only participate in up to two organized activities at a time, and only one activity if it is a moderate- or high-contact sport. Youth may only participate in one organized indoor activity at a time.
    • Competitions may only occur in county or with teams from adjacent counties (i.e., Marin, San Mateo, and Alameda) in an equal or less restrictive tier. Consistent with State guidelines, travel for out of state tournaments may not take place. 
    • Indoor ice hockey, wrestling, and water polo remain prohibited.
  • Indoor gatherings
    • Up to 12 people from 3 households may gather in a private residence, with face coverings and with ventilation measures and distancing urged. Such gatherings are discouraged unless they are gatherings with vaccinated individuals consistent with CDC guidelines. If possible gatherings should take place outdoors. 
  • Outdoor bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries
    • Bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries may open for outdoor, seated table service of up to 6 people at a table without the provision of a meal. Guests may not mingle between tables. Indoor bars, breweries and wineries without meal service remain closed.

The following activities may expand their operating capacity:

  • Dining
    • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars serving meals, cafes and coffee shops, hotels, museums, and food courts in shopping malls may expand to 50% capacity up to 200 patrons. Table size may expand to up to 6 guests from up to 3 households. Service must end by 11:00 pm.
    • Outdoor dining may remove restrictions of number of households seated at a table and may allow group reservations of up to two tables outdoors (12 people maximum). Tables remain limited to 6 guests. Tables may be seated outdoors for drink service only.
  • Gyms and Fitness
    • Indoor gyms, fitness centers and climbing walls may expand to 25% capacity up to 100 patrons, including youth patrons under the age of 18.
    • Group fitness classes including cardio may resume up to lesser of 25% capacity or 100 people.
    • Indoor locker rooms and showers may open with the implementation of a DPH approved ventilation measure. Indoor sauna, steam rooms and hot tubs remain closed.  
    • The 25-person limitation to outdoor fitness classes is lifted as long as physical distancing between participants can be maintained.
  • Retail
    • Stand-alone retail, shopping centers, low-contact retail services, equipment rental, financial institutions, laundromats, etc. may expand indoor customer capacity to 50%.
    • Personnel may handle customer-supplied items such as reusable bags, jars, mugs, and other containers.
  • Personal services
    • Indoor personal services may expand to 50% customer capacity.
  • Museums, zoos, and aquariums
    • Indoor museums, zoos and aquariums may expand to 50% customer capacity with an approved safety plan.  Coat rooms and interactive exhibits may resume with sanitation protocols in place. Auditoriums may reopen for movies following indoor movie theater guidelines.
    • Outdoor zoos may expand to full capacity outdoors, with physical distancing in place under an approved safety plan.
  • Indoor worship and funerals
    • Indoor worship and funerals may expand to 50% capacity and may resume singing, chanting and playing wind and brass instruments following applicable health rules including face coverings and maintaining 12 feet of distancing between households.
  • Indoor political demonstrations
    • Indoor political demonstrations, such as campaign rallies, may expand to 50% of maximum capacity and may resume singing, chanting and playing wind and brass instruments following applicable health rules including face coverings and maintaining 12 feet of distancing between households.
  • Live Entertainment
    • Indoor and outdoor live entertainment in a dining or other permitted venue context may include singing and playing wind and brass instruments following applicable health rules including face coverings and maintaining 12 feet of distancing between households.
    • Outdoor live entertainment in a drive-in context may increase beyond 6 entertainers to whatever is possible with physical distancing in place and may include singing and playing wind and brass instruments following applicable health rules including face coverings and maintaining 12 feet of distancing between households.
  • Indoor movie theaters
    • Indoor movie theaters may expand to 50% capacity up to 200 people.
    • Seated food or beverage concessions may resume for groups of audience members of up to 6 people from up to 3 households so long as there is 6 feet of distance between them and other audience members and a DPH approved ventilation measure is in place. 
    • If there are multiple auditoriums, each auditorium is limited to the lesser of 50% or 200 people provided the theater complex does not exceed 50% capacity. 
  • Film Production
    • Outdoor film production may expand to 50 people.
  • Higher education and adult education
    • Indoor classes, including lecture classes, and on-campus libraries may resume at 50% capacity up to 200 students.
    • Core essential class may continue without a maximum capacity limit as long as physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Outdoor tour operators
    • Open-air boat and bus tours may expand to 25 patrons, or physically distanced groups of up to 25 if more than 25 patrons total.
  • Pools
    • Indoor swimming pools may open for general use up to 25% capacity. Indoor water fitness classes must remain closed.
    • Outdoor pools may open for general use up to 50% capacity. Outdoor gentle water aerobics classes may resume.
  • Outdoor family entertainment
    • Outdoor family entertainment such as roller and ice skating rinks may expand to full capacity outdoors with physical distancing in place.
    • Standalone amusement park rides may allow members of three households to inhabit enclosed spaces such as cars or cabins, with ventilation measures encouraged.
  • Outdoor youth programs and out of school time (OST) programs
    • Childcare and pre-K programs may expand from 16 participants to stable groups of whatever number is allowed by their State licensing requirements.
    • Youth OST programs may expand to 27 (including youth and adults) for all programs other than sports.
    • Youth may participate in two OST programs at a time. If a youth is participating in a moderate or high contact sport, they may not participate in any other sport or OST program.
  • Outdoor recreation
    • Participation in all types of outdoor recreation may increase to 25 participants people from three households (and from four households in the case of golf, tennis and pickleball).
    • Outdoor organized sports for youth and adults may continue to operate with stable groups of 25 participants, with no household limitation. Participants may only participate in two organized activities at a time.
    • Certain kinds of outdoor tournaments may resume without spectators for golf, tennis and pickleball so long as physical distancing can be maintained.
    • Caddies may operate as long as they maintain 6 feet of physical distancing as much as possible.
    • Competitions may only occur in county or with teams from adjacent counties (i.e., Marin, San Mateo, and Alameda) in an equal or less restrictive tier. Consistent with State guidelines, travel for out of state tournaments may not take place. 
  • Outdoor gatherings
    • Small outdoor gatherings may increase to up to 25 people from three households.
    • Outdoor gatherings that involve food and drink may continue with 6 people from three households.

Activities that will resume at a later date:

  • Outdoor arts, music, and theater performances and festivals
    • Starting April 1, organized outdoor arts and performance events may take place with audiences of up to 50 people with a Health and Safety Plan submitted at least 5 days before the event.
    • Assigned seats are not required but social distancing between audience members must be maintained.
    • Seated concessions are allowed following outdoor dining or bar health guidelines.
  • Outdoor spectator sports and large outdoor entertainment facilities
    • Starting April 1, outdoor spectator sports and live entertainment venues with assigned seating may reopen with capacity restrictions and other operating guidelines with an approved Health and Safety plan.
  • Overnight Youth Camps
    • Starting June 1, overnight youth camps may resume following State guidance.

San Francisco’s reopening updates will be available online tomorrow, March 24, 2021 at