Mayor London Breed and Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax speak at the Oceanview covid-19 testing site on September 18, 2020. Photo by Juan Carlos Lara.

Indoor dining and gyms will be eligible to open Wednesday, March 3, at 8 a.m. at 25 and 10 percent capacity respectively, and other activities will resume as a result of meeting Covid-19 state reopening requirements, Mayor London Breed and Director of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax said on Tuesday. 

Indoor movie theaters can now reopen, too, at 25 percent capacity; museums, funeral parlors, zoos and aquariums can open at 25 percent capacity with a safety plan; yoga studios can operate “within fitness guidelines.”

Tuesday’s announcement also dissolves the order that dictated all non-essential businesses must stop at 10 p.m., meaning outdoor dining can now continue after that hour, though indoor dining must close at 10 p.m. 

The decision comes as San Francisco’s Covid-19 status meets state health equity requirements that allow it to reopen more activities. On Tuesday, San Francisco moved from the state’s most-restrictive purple tier (which indicates “widespread” Covid-19 transmission) to the red tier (which is the second-most-restrictive reopening designation and indicates “substantial” transmission)

“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,” Breed said in a press release. “To make sure we can keep moving forward, we all need to stay focused and continue to follow the health guidance.”

In addition, middle and high schools that aren’t yet open can do so, if they receive an approved safety plan from the city health officer. Elementary schools already maintain this ability. So far, no public schools have opened

While cases have decreased tremendously since the peak of the winter surge in January, officials are still taking a cautious approach as Covid-19 variants from the U.K. (B.1.1.7), West Coast (B.1.1.7) and South Africa (B.1.351) appear in the Bay Area. This means that certain activities allowed by the state in the red tier, such as eating concessions in indoor theaters, will not yet be open in the city. 

Indoor personal services where mask removal is required can occur as long as clients are six feet apart from each other. 

“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,” Colfax said in a press release. “We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to get vaccinated when and wherever it is offered.” 

The city is also upping its vaccinations, and set a new record of over 9,000 vaccinations administered to San Franciscans in a single day on Feb. 26. Right now, vaccinations are hovering between 6,000 and 7,000 a day. At least 20 percent of the city has received a dose, as well as almost 65 percent of the 65-and-older population.

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“We are making good progress managing the virus and ramping up vaccinations, and I’m hopeful for what lies ahead,” Breed said. 

In total, there have been 34,114 positive Covid-19 cases and 422 deaths in San Francisco. Covid-19 cases have declined significantly since the winter surge. 

As of Tuesday, the city is reporting a rolling 7-day average of 67 new cases a day. At the peak of the surge in January, this was as high as 375. Most of the recent new cases appear to be concentrated in underserved areas like Treasure Island and the Tenderloin, and southeast sector neighborhoods like the Portola and Bayview, which have consistently been heavily impacted during the pandemic. 

The city is also at its lowest positivity rate in months, 1.46 percent. However, local medical experts said that a decrease in testing both locally and nationally, as attention focuses on vaccines, may affect the positivity rate figures. 

Meanwhile, the Latinx population still accounts for 41 percent of the city’s cases, despite making up 15 percent of the population. That disparity has been gradually narrowing. 

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Annika Hom

Annika Hom is our inequality reporter through our partnership with Report for America. Annika was born and raised in the Bay Area. She previously interned at SF Weekly and the Boston Globe where she focused...

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6 Comments

  1. Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result.

  2. Here we go again… Rushing to reopen, likely followed by an increase in cases, followed by another lockdown.

  3. I live in one of the neighborhoods that your article claims is still vulnerable to the pandemic the Bayview and theTenderloin. These communities are full of our black neighbors that are not in a rush either for personal or uninformed reasons to get the vaccination. I am 60 years old and was the victim of a violent crime just four weeks ago where I was beaten with the metal part in my skull. The police and building management at Community Housing Partnership seemed in white that I called them though I lost buckets of blood. The police didn’t even interview my neighbor who attacked me in the hallway because the building management said as they always do when monthly attacks happened in our building that that area is blacks out from the surveillance cameras.
    I have been isolating alone as a San Francisco native in my 57th year here while this community and specifically the San Christina hotel at 1000 Market have done little or nothing but make a joke of the pandemic. I have stress the disorder from the attack and I’m a senior since none of these people are even thinking about getting the vaccination and the ones who are thinking about it refuse to I think I should be God damn allowed to take that damn Johnson & Johnson tomorrow. And if you think I’m racist by pointing the reality out to those of you who don’t have a clue how some of us are suffering here, you should have said something when the black community elected black leaders like Willie Brown and London bridge who sold them out eradicating their population down to single digits yet still I must suffer for their ignorance and antisocial behavior. Give me that damn shot.

  4. I’m hoping we stay open but highly doubt it. Cases will rise by the slightest and we’ll be shut down again in a few weeks

  5. Returning to indoor dining was announced on the same day essential workers were barely *eligible* for vaccination and that felt insulting. Even if you were lucky to get a shot that day your body hasn’t had enough time to build great immunity. I wish we had more time to build a safety net as essential workers before getting cast to the maskless wolves. Remember who is itchy to go to restaurants and receive services and who provides those services.. May these narrowing disparities not get worse again.

    Plus we have the unknowns of variants, difficulties of vaccination rollouts despite positive progress, and all the other unknown unknowns, I fear we’ll end up locked down again soon, but hopefully I’m wrong.

  6. Because of the Trump admin , the Vaccine Warp Speed doses are protecting the bulk of our most vulnerable populations. Note , it takes about 90 days for a vaccine batch to be crafted so anything done by the Biden admin will not be visible until May at the earliest.
    As for opening , mixed feelings given that most teachers , 65+, and those with health conditions will not be fully vaccinated until the end of April. We are nearing the one year anniversary of the SF lockdown but it’s my thought we could go to the end of next month before opening up for indoor activities that do not require masks.

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