A limited number of San Francisco’s non-essential workers can once again return to their office desks Tuesday, but they may have some dusting off to do after seven months of shutdown.

San Francisco plans to reopen non-essential offices at 25 percent capacity and under strict physical distancing guidelines Tuesday, a change made possible by the city’s progression from the orange to the less restrictive yellow tier in the state’s Covid-19 Blueprint for a Safer Economy system.

Under new health guidelines, employers must check employee health symptoms daily as they enter the office. Officials said if Covid-19 cases remain stable or improve for at least 30 days, permitted office capacity could be increased to 50 percent.

Mayor London Breed said The City has been able to move forward with reopening plans because residents have largely followed public health guidelines, such as wearing face coverings in public. Declaring the movement a sign of The City’s economic recovery, she added:

“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.”

In addition, climbing gyms and walls within fitness centers can also resume operations with limited capacity and specific health guidelines in place.

Indoor fitness centers will be permitted to increase capacity by 25 percent, up from the current 10 percent, but cardio or aerobic classes are still prohibited. 

The City is also allowing limited removal of face coverings during some personal care services provided by estheticians.

Officials are planning the safe reopening for indoor pools, indoor bowling alleys and fitness center locker rooms and showers to reopen on Nov. 3. Indoor dining, places of worship and indoor museums will be allowed to increase capacity from 25 to 50 percent as of Nov. 3.

The Mayor’s Office said she’s looking at a mid-November goal to reopen alcohol-only bars.

The City’s Covid-19 health indicators have shown a drop in the seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases per day. That average has dropped from 130 cases per day on July 20 to 31 as of Oct. 13.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health reports 11,937 confirmed cases and 133 resulting deaths with data reported through Saturday.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to jerold@sfbay.ca or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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