San Francisco has been taken off the state’s COVID-19 watchlist as the number of new daily cases citywide is slightly declining, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday — the same day several businesses began operating outdoors.
The city was placed on the list back in July when it was seeing more than 100 new COVID-19 cases daily. Currently the city is seeing about 75 new cases daily, which although remaining somewhat high, allows the city to move forward with the reopening of some businesses under state guidelines.
On Tuesday, the city began allowing personal services like haircuts, massages and nail services to resume in outdoor settings, while others like tattoo art, facials and waxing remain on hold for the time being.
Breed said while the outdoor option may not be ideal, it’s the safest option for now. But if the city continues to see cases declining, all personal services could be allowed to resume indoors by the end of the month.
“We are off the watchlist, so that is a good thing, but we are not out of the woods,” she said. “We know this is not what people wanted. I sure don’t want to get my hair done outside, I’m going to be honest, so I get it. But this is what we have to offer,” she said.
Breed further announced that because the city is no longer on the state watchlist, indoor malls can reopen with limited capacity starting Tuesday. Then on Sept. 9, gyms and fitness providers will be able to resume classes in outdoor public spaces like park lawns, city plazas and basketball courts.
By mid-month, other establishments could reopen, including hotels for tourists and visitors; outdoor entertainment venues like outdoor movie theaters and mini golf; outdoor tour buses and boats; indoor museums, zoos and aquariums; and places of worship offering individual prayer and outdoor services of up to 50 people. More details about those reopenings will be forthcoming, Breed said.
As the city moves forward with the reopenings after having scaled back the reopenings of some businesses back in June due to a surge in new cases, city health officials urge residents to continue wearing face coverings, as well as practice social distancing and regular hand washing.
“The more we open, the more people are gathering and spreading around. We still have concerns,” Breed said. “The last thing I want to do is tell you that we are going to start reopening and then need make changes and start closing businesses.”
Breed also announced some elementary schools will be allowed to reopen on a rolling basis. Within the next two to four weeks, the city could approve the more than 50 elementary schools that have already applied for a waiver to resume in-person learning with limited capacity.
Then by mid-October, more elementary schools, as well as middle schools, will be able to apply for waivers to reopen. In November, high schools could then apply for the waivers.
“All of these (activities) must be done safely with mask-wearing because that’s critical to the success of not only opening these establishments, but allowing them to remain open,” she said. “We will all play a role in the success of this moving forward. I can’t reiterate that enough.”
More information about the reopenings can be found at https://sf.gov/topics/reopening.