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San Francisco is hoping to accelerate its reopening schedule pending approval of a variance by the California Department of Public Health and as long as key health indicators are being met.

Mayor London Breed and Department of Public Health Director Grant Colfax Monday announced hair salons, barber shops, tattoo shops, museums, zoos, outdoor bars and outdoor swimming can potentially reopen on June 29.

Many of these businesses had been scheduled to reopen in mid-July.

Breed said in a statement that The City’s ability to reopen faster is a credit to residents for following health orders, practicing physical distancing and wearing face masks or coverings.

The mayor said:

“We know a lot of businesses and residents are struggling financially, and this next step will help get more San Franciscans back to work while still balancing safety.”

Jesse Garnier/SFBay San Francisco, Calif. Covid-19 cases per day.

Last Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors approved a motion allowing the Department of Public Health to request the state variance that will provide greater local flexibility to determine when specific businesses can reopen.

San Francisco was one of a few counties in the state that had not yet sought a variance.

Once approved, health officials said the stay-at-home order will be amended as long as data for each health indicator remains steady.

Health officials are monitoring the following five indicators:

  • Hospital system: Weekly rate change of Covid-19 hospitalizations, seven-day average of acute beds available and seven-day average of ICU beds available.
  • Cases: Average new cases per day per 100,000 residents.
  • Testing: Seven-day average of tests collected per day.
  • Contact tracing: Percentage of cases and named contacts reached through contact tracing over the prior two weeks.
  • Personal protective equipment: Accounting of essential PPE categories with at least a 30-day supply.
Jesse Garnier/SFBay A sign reminding the public to maintain social distancing is seen along The Embarcadero near Pier 14 in San Francisco, Calif. on Saturday, March 28, 2020.

The health department is using a color-coded system to show progress in each indicator category.

Green indicates targets are being met; yellow means The City is not meeting the target but health officials will evaluate other indicators before loosening restrictions; orange denotes not meeting the target and health officials will consider dialing back on plans to reopen based on other indicators and data; red is far from reaching the target and health officials will consider increasing stay-at-home restrictions and pausing reopening.

Colfax said in statement that health officials will continually monitor the key indicators as more businesses begin operating.

He said:

“We expect Covid-19 cases to increase as we reopen. To keep that increase manageable and sustain our commitment to protecting the people most vulnerable to the virus, everyone in San Francisco must continue to take the precautions that save lives.”

Health officials reported a total of 3,219 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 48 deaths related to the virus as of Monday.

The public can track progress on the five indicators on the department’s website.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn covers transportation and City Hall in San Francisco for SF Bay. Email: jerold@sfbay.ca. Twitter: @Jerold_Chinn. Instagram: jeroldwashere.

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