San Francisco had a homeless population of 8,035 as of 2019, according to city data. Roughly two thirds of that population was unhoused. (Photo via Christopher Michel/Flickr)

Although San Francisco remains in the blue tier on California’s COVID-19 reopening system, the city’s Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said Friday as cases citywide continue to increase, he expects the city to reach the purple tier — the most restrictive tier — by Sunday.

Colfax’s announcement comes just a day after Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a month-long stay-home order, requiring non-essential work and gatherings to cease from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in counties assigned to the purple tier.

So far, 41 counties are in the purple tier, including Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sonoma, Solano, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties. The order is set to begin Saturday and will last through Dec. 21.

“This surge is more widespread and serious than ever before,” Colfax said during a virtual briefing.

“San Francisco is currently in the blue tier, and currently not affected by the order, however, our current case rate… places us on the trajectory to be in the purple tier, potentially as early as Sunday. At that point, we will need to abide by the state’s shelter-in-place order,” Colfax said. “And if and when we are assigned to the purple tier, additional reopening roll backs will be required by the state, including closing indoor gyms, indoor museums and movie theaters and houses of worship. We will also have to further limit capacity in retail outlets.”

On Monday, Colfax said the latest surge of the virus marks the city’s third since the pandemic began in March, with the city currently seeing the number average cases daily jump from 29 to 97 since last month.

Although just last week, the city was in the yellow tier last week, it moved the red tier Monday. As a result, so far, the city has rolled back the reopening of non-essential offices and indoor dining at restaurants and bars with food.

Additionally, capacity at indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters have been reduced to 25 percent. Plans to open high schools have also been put on hold.

If the city does move into the purple tier by Sunday, Colfax said the state would then give the city guidance on when the potential curfew and new rollbacks would take effect.

City health officials are also discouraging residents from planning any holiday travel, as increased travel could further the spread of the virus.

“This is a very serious pandemic and this is not the year to travel with your family,” Colfax said.

More information about rollbacks and reopening can be found at