With San Francisco moving now into the yellow tier of the state’s tiered system for reopening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, city officials on Tuesday announced plans to reopen more businesses next week.
Under the latest plan, starting on Oct. 27, businesses like non-essential offices and indoor climbing gyms will be able to reopen, albeit with limited capacity.
Offices will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity, while smaller offices with less than 20 employees can go beyond 25 percent capacity. Climbing gyms will also be able to reopen also with 25 percent capacity, in addition to sanitation protocols.
Also on Oct. 27, indoor fitness centers will be able to increase indoor capacity to 25 percent; indoor personal services like waxing and skin treatments can resume; and colleges and universities can increase outdoor class capacity to 25 people and request to hold indoor classes no longer than two hours.
Then on Nov. 3, activities like indoor pools and indoor bowling alleys can resume, while indoor fitness centers, including hotel fitness centers, can reopen their locker rooms and showers.
Additionally, on Nov. 3, the city will allow restaurants, including those in hotels, shopping centers and museums, can increase indoor capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent, or up to 200 people for larger spaces.
Places of worship will also be allowed to increase capacity to 50 percent for indoor worship, while outdoor places of worship, or political protest, can expand to include as many as 300 people, so long as face coverings and social distancing are required.
Other activities like indoor museums, indoor movie theaters, zoos and aquariums will also be allowed to increase capacity to 50 percent.
According to city officials, San Francisco’s measured approach to reopening has allowed the city to become the only Bay Area county to be placed in the yellow tier thus far.
“Today really is a sign of hope for our city and for our economic recovery,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “Every step of the way we’ve made decisions through the lens of public health, and we will continue to do so going forward. We know new cases of COVID are rising in other parts of the country, so we cannot relax. We must remain vigilant. But I have faith in the people of San Francisco and in our approach to this virus. It won’t be easy and there are still tough months ahead, but I’m proud of the way this city has come together to fight this virus.”
“Working together, we have slowed the spread of COVID-19 in San Francisco. Our residents have been tremendous partners and have taken the necessary precautions. We have had robust partnerships across the City and the infrastructure that we have built in our COVID-19 response has been critical to beating back the virus,” Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “We will continue to monitor our health indicators and impacts of reopening, which will help guide us in future planning.”
Dr. Erica Pan, the state’s interim public health officer, said in a Tuesday afternoon briefing announcing San Francisco’s tier movement that the county was moving into the yellow tier in part due to its improved health equity score, which measures whether test positivity rates in a county’s more disadvantaged neighborhoods are better than, worse than or in line with the county’s overall positivity rate.
Including San Francisco, there are now nine counties across the state in the yellow tier. San Francisco County is the only part of the Bay Area in the state’s least restrictive tier.
“We continue to make overall progress as a state with the slow and stringent reopening,” Pan said. “And we’ve managed to move forward and maintain our case stability, even as we’ve seen” cases rise across the U.S.
As part of the new reopening plan, city officials said by next month, bars not serving food may be able to reopen for outdoor service.
Also in November, some high schools may reopen for in-person learning.
So far 56 private, parochial and charter schools have been approved by the city to reopen, city officials said.