Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday that, a week from today, the city will reopen “non-essential” offices at limited capacity and indoor climbing gyms with the same capacity as fitness centers. 

An employee at the Mission’s rock-climbing gym, Mission Cliffs, said he “is excited, but doesn’t want to get his hopes up.” He declined to say more, or to give his name, explaining that the gym’s headquarters told employees to refrain from talking to the press until it is officially open. 

Mission Cliffs, which combines wall climbing with physical fitness, had previously reopened for 10 days about a month ago, but then had to shut again. 

The new openings came after San Francisco reduced the rate of covid infection enough  to enter into California’s yellow-tier status, which signifies “minimal” spread of the virus, and is the lowest of the state’s four tiers.

To enter that status a county must report 1 new case per 100,000 each day. San Francisco’s rate is 2.5 cases per 100,000, but the state gives it bonus points for doing more testing than elsewhere, plus a low positivity rate. Its adjusted case rate is 1.5 cases per 100,000 and its positivity rate is .8 percent. 


Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s director of health, congratulated the city on beating back the virus. “We will continue to monitor our health indicators and impacts of reopening, which will help guide us in future planning,” he said. 

Personal services, such as lip waxing, will allow limited mask removal. Previously, services requiring mask removal were not allowed. 

Swasti Thata, the owner of Eyebrow Queen Salon on 24th Street near South Van Ness Avenue, was unaware San Francisco had moved into the yellow tier. 

Her shop has only been open for two weeks.  “It may be better to wait a little longer to remove masks, because they protect both me and my customer,” she said. 

By November 3, San Francisco expects to reopen indoor pools and bowling alleys – also with required safety protocols. The list, timetable and requirements can be found here.

Also by November 3, hotels, shopping centers, museums and indoor worship can also increase their indoor capacity to 50 percent. Outdoor worship or political protests can expand to 300 people, with face coverings and distancing. 

Indoor museums, zoos, movie theaters and aquariums can increase their capacity to 50 percent.  Some types of live performances with up to six performers to take place in a drive-in setting and film productions can expand both indoor and outdoor activities with some limitations. 

Schools will continue to reopen and some high schools are on track to return to limited in-person learning at the end of November if they have approved safety plans. SFUSD will continue distance learning. 

Clara-Sophia Daly

Clara-Sophia Daly is a multimedia storyteller and reporter who has worked both in print and audio. A graduate of Skidmore College where she studied International Affairs and Media/Film studies, she enjoys...

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  1. So why can’t I see my Mom in person (not thru a window) at her nursing home in San Francisco? You have consistently NOT addressed the fact that care facility residents are being treated like prisoners and SFDPH refuses to cope with it. Ageism? seems like it

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