With the number of new COVID-19 cases in San Francisco on the rise, city leaders on Tuesday announced a new series of rollbacks for certain activities aimed at slowing down the recent surge.
Under the latest measures, starting on Saturday the city will temporarily roll back the reopening of indoor dining at restaurants and bars with food, as well as reduce capacities at gyms and indoor movie theaters to 25 percent or maximum 50 people.
Additionally, any plans to open high schools will be put on pause, city officials said.
For now, the rollbacks are targeting high-risk indoor activities, as such activities result in an increased concentration of aerosols and droplets that could potentially contain the virus.
“We have to recognize there is a problem. The uptick we have seen is really a cause for concern, which has put us in a situation where we have had to make another hard choice,” Mayor London Breed said Tuesday, speaking at City Hall.
“We’re seeing upticks all over the country, not just in San Francisco, and the reason we’re seeing better results is because we acted on data quickly and we made the hard decisions and we did what was necessary to protect people,” she said. “But we are asking for a lot more, I know. And as we approach the holiday season, we need everyone to be mindful as to what is at stake. Making a decision to support opening a business and then asking that business to close; it’s heartbreaking. It is very, very unfortunate, but it is necessary.”
Department of Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said over the last month, the number of new cases has been on the rise by 250 percent.
Currently, the city is seeing 80 new cases daily, up from just 32 new cases daily two weeks ago.
“This is consistent, unfortunately, with what we are seeing across California and the Bay Area,” he said. “If we do not pause and do not reverse, it is entirely plausible where we could face a situation where our health care system could become overwhelmed and reverse any progress we’ve made all these months.”
Colfax said if the surge continues, cases could rise sharply by the end of the year, with the city possibly seeing over 300 new cases daily by late December.
Breed added that while openings for high schools are being put on pause, middle schools and elementary schools that have already opened won’t be affected by the rollbacks.
In the face of the recent surge, city officials are discouraging holiday travel, as it could increase the risk of getting or spreading the virus.
More information about the city’s reopenings and rollbacks can be found at https://sf.gov/step-by-step/reopening-san-francisco.