San Francisco restaurants are now allowed to serve indoor meals.
As of Wednesday, Restaurants can reopen at 25 percent capacity with up to no more than 100 people. Safety and public health guidelines will be similar to outdoor dining guidelines where patrons are required to wear face coverings at all times except when eating and drinking. City officials encourage restaurants to use a reservation system to control capacity.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health posted preliminary guidance with best practices to keep restaurant employees and customers safe, including wellness checks for all employees and a customer screening process that involves questioning about Covid-19 symptoms and possible exposures.
Places of worship Wednesday are also allowed to increase indoor service by the same capacity restrictions as restaurants — until now, public health one person has been allowed to enter at a time, which has drawn criticism from the U.S. Department of Justice. Outdoor worship services can now serve groups of up to 200 people, up from the 50-person maximum.
The DPH planned to release final health and safety guidelines Wednesday.
Mayor London Breed said in a statement that The City is continuing to see an improvement in the Covid-19 data, which has allowed officials for more businesses sectors and outdoor activities to occur:
“Reopening indoor restaurants and houses of worship with limited capacity, and creating opportunities for families to safely enjoy outdoor entertainment are a good step on our road to recovery. We are committed to following the data and continuing reopening once our local health indicators demonstrate it is safe to do so.”
In an effort to survive the pandemic, many restaurants have resorted to take-out, though some have permanently closed. In a May survey conducted by the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, nearly half of the 216 restaurants owners who responded said they had to lay off all of their employees.
Joaquín Torres, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said in a statement:
“Doing business indoors couldn’t come at a better time as we approach the colder months, but we must do so safely. Keep your mask on when you are talking, especially to restaurant staff. This will allow us to stay safe and do what we do better than any other City, eat out often.”
Additional family entertainment venues also resume operations Wednesday under modified safety guidelines. Activities like carousels, miniature trains and even the Observation Wheel in Golden Gate Park are permitted under the new guidelines. The ferris wheel, which was originally planned as a centerpiece for the park’s 150th anniversary celebration, is still under construction and officials expect the attraction to open by the end of October.
Fitness centers inside hotels can reopen at 10 percent capacity with staff monitoring and indoor shopping malls can now allow shoppers at 50 percent indoor capacity upon approval of a health and safety plan. Indoor mall food courts are permitted under the same guidelines as other indoor dining establishments.
As long as The City remains in the state’s orange tier, The Mayor’s Office said officials hope to reopen indoor movie theaters by Oct. 7 at 25 percent capacity or up to 100 people without concessions stands.
Under guidelines revised by the state Monday, children’s outdoor playgrounds could also reopen by Oct. 14, officials said.
Recreation and Parks Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said in a statement:
“We are thrilled to welcome families back to our playgrounds, centers of neighborhood joy and connection that have been sorely missed, particularly in our low income and high density neighborhoods.”
Breed reminded the public do their part in following the public health guidelines:
“…The last thing we want to see is a spike in cases and a need to roll back all the progress we’ve made, so we all need to do our part. Please continue to follow the public health guidelines and participate in these activities responsibly so we can continue to move forward together.”
The San Francisco Department of Public Health reports a total of 11,275 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 104 deaths as of Sunday.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.