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The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

San Francisco to Roll Back Select Activities in Response to Assignment to State's Red Tier

Due to a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases across the City and State, San Francisco will roll back non-essential offices and reduce capacity of gyms and fitness centers

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced the City will adjust its reopening of businesses and activities due to the continued increase in COVID-19 cases in San Francisco, which has resulted in the State placing the City in the more restrictive Red Tier. San Francisco will temporarily roll back the reopening of all non-essential offices and will reduce the capacity of fitness centers and gyms to a maximum capacity of 10%. These changes will go into effect on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

San Francisco is rolling back these activities in compliance with the California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy tier assignments. San Francisco, the Bay Area, and California continue to experience a rapid and significant increase in COVID-19 cases. To adapt to the widespread rise in cases, the State has notified the counties that it is changing its reopening tier assignments. On Monday, 41 of the 58 counties will be assigned to the most restrictive Purple Tier, which prohibits many business and activities. The State has assigned San Francisco from the least restrictive Yellow Tier, where virus transmission is minimal, to the more restrictive Red Tier, where virus transmission is substantial.

“The increased rate of new COVID-19 cases in San Francisco means that we need to make some additional adjustments to slow the spread of the virus in our community. We need to make these hard choices now so that we can save lives and keep our healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed,” said Mayor Breed. “In addition to these rollbacks, we need everyone to do their part to get COVID-19 under control, especially as we go into the holiday season. I know that people want to spend time with their family and friends this Thanksgiving, but this year we need to all stay home as much as possible, avoid unnecessary travel, and avoid gathering with people who don’t live with us. I know it’s difficult, but it’s an important step we can each take to stay safe and protect the health of our entire community.”

The rolling back of certain businesses and activities is required by the State now that San Francisco has been assigned to the Red Tier. Due to its deliberate and strategic approach to reopening, San Francisco had only reopened a small number of activities allowed in the Orange Tier and only these activities are required to roll back. Non-essential offices which had been opened to 25% capacity on October 27th will need to close, and fitness centers will need to reduce their capacity to 10%, down from 25% capacity.

“San Francisco is in the midst of a major surge, and as we are seeing in communities across the country, it is moving aggressively,” said Dr. Grant Colfax. “Together, we have beaten back the virus twice before and we can do it again by taking the proper precautions. We must take every possible precaution to protect ourselves, our families and our community. Do not travel this holiday season. The choices we make in the next two weeks will save lives and determine the remainder of this holiday season. COVID-19 is not resting and neither can we.”

San Francisco is currently experiencing a surge in new cases rates. One of the key indicators of COVID-19 prevalence in the city, the number of new cases per day per 100,000 people, continues to climb from a low of 3.7 cases per 100,000 people to more than 10 cases per 100,000 people this week. From October 10 to November 10, daily new COVID cases jumped from a 7-day average of 29 cases per day to 97 cases per day.

San Francisco’s increase in cases is significant but not unique. California has seen a significant increase in new positive cases over the last week and many counties have been re-assigned to more restrictive tiers on the State’s system. Because of the widespread rise in cases, the State has notified the counties that it is changing its tier reassignment assignment in order to respond to changes in health indicators more immediately. Before this change, a county had to be in a tier for two consecutive weeks before the State re-assigned it to a more restrictive tier. Now a county will only need to be in that more restrictive tier for one week. Because of this change, San Francisco is moving from the least restrictive Yellow Tier to the Red Tier after only one week.

The following activities will halt indoor operations until further notice:

  • Non-essential offices. Offices will have to return to 100% remote and telework operations.

The following activities will be required to reduce indoor capacity:

  • Fitness centers (including gyms, hotel fitness facilities, and climbing walls) may remain open at 10% capacity.

All other businesses and activities that are currently allowed may continue operating this time within current applicable guidelines, including outdoor gyms and fitness centers, outdoor dining and take-out, elementary and middle schools, retail shopping, personal services, and cultural and family activities such as museums and aquariums.

The Department of Public Health will continue to closely monitor the City’s case count, infection rate, and hospitalization rate in order to determine if additional activities need to be rolled back in order to contain the outbreak of the virus. The Department of Public Health released a Travel Advisory on November 12, urging San Franciscans to refrain from travelling outside of the county and recommending a 14-day quarantine for those who do choose to travel. As cases continue to climb throughout California and the rest of the country, this advisory is even more important to follow. The City strongly encourages San Franciscans to avoid gatherings, wear face coverings when leaving home, and keep their distance from other people, and to get tested for COVID-19 if they feel sick.

More information about San Francisco’s reopening timeline can be found at