San Francisco Reopens Some Businesses and Activities as it moves into the State's Red Tier
Beginning Wednesday, March 3, San Francisco will open up activities such as indoor dining, indoor fitness, and indoor museums and aquariums in accordance with State and with 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, following the City’s assignment by the State to the Red Tier based on COVID-19 case and hospitalization rates. 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 3 at 8:00am, as long as they comply with required safety protocols.
As of today, March 2, San Francisco has met the criteria based on its COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other health metrics, to advance to the less restrictive red tier on the State's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This action allows San Francisco to reopen and expand some indoor activities such as dining, museums, movie theaters, and fitness on a limited basis. It also reopens additional outdoor recreation options such as Ferris wheels, carousels and amusement park style train rides; increases the types of outdoor sports that both adults and youth may pursue; and expands outdoor out of school time programs to groups of 25 children. At this time, indoor retail will generally remain capped at 25% capacity and small indoor gatherings with other households are restricted.
“Thanks to everyone in our City acting responsibly and doing their part, we can take another step towards reopening and beginning our recovery,” said Mayor Breed. “This year has been incredibly hard on our residents and small businesses, so every step forward is critical to making sure they can survive this pandemic. To make sure we can keep moving forward, we all need to stay focused and continue to follow the health guidance. We are making good progress managing the virus and ramping up vaccinations, and I’m hopeful for what lies ahead. We have shown that San Francisco can do what needs to be done to protect our city and each other.”
With some exceptions, San Francisco is reopening in alignment with the activities allowed by the State. Additionally, the City is opening remaining activities allowed in the purple tier that had not yet reopened, such as personal services that require mask removal, and groups of up to six people from three households eating together outdoors. Additionally, San Francisco will lift its local nighttime hours limit for all activities except indoor dining, meaning that non-essential businesses and gatherings, such as outdoor dining, can continue past 10:00pm.
With the move into the red tier, middle schools and high schools that had not yet opened can resume opening with a COVID-19 safety plan approved by the San Francisco Health Officer. All other schools can already be open with an approved safety plan. As they have been able to do since September, all schools may provide in-person instruction and services to youth with disabilities, foster children, English learners, children experiencing homelessness, and children from families experiencing housing or food insecurity among others, without Health Officer approval.
Based on San Francisco’s health indicators and its health equity metric, San Francisco meets the State’s criteria for advancing to the Red Tier. San Francisco’s new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have decreased steadily since the holiday surge that peaked in early January. At this time, San Francisco is averaging 67 new cases a day, which is comparable to where the City was in mid-November before the surge.
Although San Francisco’s new cases and hospitalization have been trending in a positive direction, the presence of the U.K. (B.1.1.7), West Coast (CAL.20c) and the South African (B.1.351) variants in the Bay Area represent a potential increased risk of contagiousness and greater community spread. Continued adherence to public health prevention measures such as wearing masks, washing hands and physical distancing can limit the impact of variants, particularly as indoor activities begin to open.
Further supporting San Francisco’s reopening is the City’s ongoing vaccination efforts. At this time, more than 20% of San Francisco’s population has received the first dose of vaccine, as have almost 65% of the City’s residents over 65. Last week, the City moved to Phase 1B of the State’s vaccine prioritization plan, allowing workers in emergency services, education and childcare, and food and agriculture related occupations to begin making appointments to receive vaccinations. COVID-19 vaccine supply remains limited, but with significant steps towards vaccinating the most at risk and the most vulnerable to exposure underway, San Francisco hopes to continue the momentum towards reducing the threat of the virus.
“I am so proud of San Francisco. Nearly a year after our shelter in place order, thanks to our collective actions and commitment to following the health guidelines, we have come through our worst surge since the beginning of the pandemic,” stated Dr. Grant Colfax. “We know how to slow the spread and save lives. As we continue to gradually reopen we need to be aware of the risks and to stay vigilant, especially while vaccines remain limited and the growing presence of more contagious variants pose an increased risk of greater community spread. We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to get vaccinated when and wherever it is offered. Until it’s your turn, practice physical distancing, avoid indoor gatherings with people outside your household and wear your mask over your nose and mouth. Together, we can continue to move forward safely.”
San Francisco continues to approach reopening with a lens of balancing the public health harms of COVID-19 transmission with the public health harms of economic stress and isolation. San Francisco is updating its health order to come into near alignment with the State, although there remain some areas of departure where it is important to minimize the risk to public health. Although San Francisco is reopening some of the indoor activities allowed in the red tier, indoor activities, particularly those that require mask removal remain significantly more risky than outdoor activities. Because of this, concessions in indoor theaters remain closed at this time. Similarly, although indoor dining is opening, it is limited to members of one household and up to four people per table and indoor service must stop by 10:00pm.
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 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.
“We are encouraged by the partnership and participation in risk mitigating behavior that San Francisco businesses and patrons have demonstrated, which is what allows the City to take this next necessary step forward. Despite certain unknowns, we are doing this based on the need to sustain our businesses and workers,” said Anne Taupier, Acting Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development “After a year of restricted interactions and depressed business operations and the consequences those have wrought, we must try to move forward. We can support our local businesses and practice preventative health behaviors. We know how to minimize the spread of this virus without requiring our businesses to close and it is up to all of us to do so.”
As of today, the San Francisco Department of Public Health will issue final health and safety guidelines to reopen activities allowed under the red tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, effective as of 8:00am Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The City will post the revised Health Order with detailed requirements to its webpage by the end of the day today March 2, 2021. Under the new Health Order, the following activities will be opened or expanded.
Activities to Resume Wednesday, March 3, 2021
The following activities may be reopened:
- Indoor dining and food courts
- Indoor dining at restaurants, bars serving meals, cafes and coffee shops, hotels, museums, and food courts in shopping malls may open at up to the lesser of 25% maximum occupancy or 100 people.
- San Francisco will limit indoor dining tables to members of one household up to a maximum of four people and require indoor service to end by 10:00pm.
- Indoor and outdoor personal services
- Personal services that require mask removal can take place outdoors and the service provider wears an N95 or other well-fitted mask.
- Personal services that require mask removal can occur indoors if the service is provided at least 6 feet away from others and preferably in a separate room and the service provider wears an N95 or other well-fitted mask.
- Indoor fitness
- Gyms and climbing walls may reopen indoors at up to 10% capacity.
- Gentle indoor fitness classes such as stretching, yoga and meditation may operate within indoor fitness guidelines.
- Indoor locker rooms and showers remain closed at this time. Indoor saunas, steam rooms and hot tubs remain closed per State rules.
- Indoor museums, zoos, and aquariums
- Indoor museums, zoos and aquariums can open at up to 25% capacity with an approved safety plan.
- Indoor funerals
- Funerals may take place indoors up to up to 25% capacity.
- Simultaneous indoor and outdoor services may not take place.
- Indoor political demonstrations
- Political demonstrations may take place indoors up to 25% of maximum capacity.
- Middle schools and high schools that had not yet reopened may resume reopening for in-person instruction with a COVID-19 Safety Plan approved by the Health Officer. Elementary schools may continue to reopen, as has been the case.
- Outdoor stand-alone amusement rides
- Outdoor stand-alone amusement rides like Ferris wheels, carousels, and train rides will open. Only one household can inhabit each separate space, such as a Ferris wheel cabin or train car.
- Indoor movie theaters
- Indoor movie theaters may open at up to the lesser of 25% or 100 people capacity, but without food or beverage concessions.
- If there are multiple auditoriums, each auditorium is limited to the lesser of 25% or 100 people provided the complex as a whole does not exceed 25% capacity.
- Indoor pools
- Indoor swimming pools may open up to 25% capacity but only for basic swimming and drowning-prevention classes for children.
- Outdoor pools remain open for broader uses.
The following activities may expand their operating capacity:
- Outdoor gatherings
- Small outdoor gatherings of up to 12 people from three households can continue
- Outdoor gatherings that involve food and drink may expand to up to six people from three households.
- Outdoor dining
- Outdoor dining will expand from members of two households up to six people, to members of three households up to six people per table, and will remove the requirement that service end by10:00 pm.
- Additionally, for those businesses that had constructed barriers between tables in lieu of distancing before December 6, those barriers can remain. New barriers intended to replace the required 6 feet of distancing may not be constructed.
- Hotels and other lodging facilities
- Hotels and lodging facilities can open dining and fitness facilities in accordance with guidelines.
- Though San Francisco’s travel quarantine for travelers from outside the Bay Area has lifted, the State’s travel advisory requiring that non-essential travelers from out of state or beyond 120 miles quarantine for 10 days remains.
- Drive-in venues
- Live entertainment with up to six performers can open in a drive in context of up to 100 cars, with one household per car.
- In-person ordering or pick up of concessions may open if in a designated area with customer metering and eating or drinking in vehicles only.
- Real estate
- Real estate showings must occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment without limits to the number of people viewing or showing the property.
- Open houses are not permitted at this time.
- Outdoor youth programs and out of school time programs
- Out of school time programs for school-aged children and youth such as Community Hubs, youth sports, and afterschool programs, may increase outdoor cohorts to 25 children or youth.
- Youth may only participate in one program at a time.
- Higher education and adult education
- In-person classes at institutes of higher education, vocational education and adult education can take place outdoors up to 25 students.
- If specialized equipment is required, classes can take place indoors at 25% capacity or if for a core essential service, without a capacity limit as long as 6 foot physical distancing can be maintained.
- No indoor lecture classes may take place.
- Outdoor recreation
- Doubles tennis and doubles pickleball can resume with members of up to four households.
- Up to 12 people from three households may pursue outdoor low, moderate, or high contact sports.
- If part of a supervised youth or adult league or club, outdoor moderate and high contact sports such as softball, field hockey, and gymnastics, as well as football, basketball, and soccer may resume for stable groups of up to 25 per team, following DPH safety precautions.
- 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.
San Francisco’s reopening updates will be available online tomorrow, March 3 at SF.gov/reopening.
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. Particularly in light of the variants within the community, public health officials may implement a phased or lagged approach to reopening subsequent tiers in order to ensure enough time to understand how health indicators have responded to the reopening of activities in the current tier 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 framework, the City will continue on a reopening path based on its local health indicators and the unique challenges and successes of its local reopening.