In a sudden shift Friday, San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced a temporary pause on The City’s reopening efforts due to an uptick in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

The mayor said last week that indoor pools, bowling alleys, showers and lockers inside fitness centers were slated to reopen Tuesday, but those plans are now on hold, as are plans to increase capacity in restaurants and places of worship.

The mayor said:

“The fact is we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. …we are starting to see a slight uptick in the number of hospitalizations, which puts us in a situation where things could possibly get worse than what they are.”

Jesse Garnier/SFBay As confirmed Covid-19 cases and hospitalization rates creep back up, San Francisco, Calif. officials are pausing plans to reopen some businesses and expand operation capacities originally scheduled to occur November 3, 2020.

Acknowledging that The City needs to proceed with caution, she added:

“The last thing we want to do is tell a business or a school or someplace that they can open, and then tell them that they have to close.”

However, some reopening plans are still scheduled to occur Tuesday,  including:

  • Indoor museums with restaurant operations at 25 percent capacity
  • Outdoor film capacity expansion from 12 to 25 people
  • Drive-in style performances with up to six performers
  • Increased real estate showings and open houses

Activities and businesses that were permitted to resume on Oct. 27 can remain open, Breed said.

Director of the Department of Public Health Dr. Grant Colfax said that the Covid-19 hospitalization weekly change rate is at 54 percent, in the red tier. 

The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients has fluctuated in the month of October with as many as 56 patients on Oct 1. to as low as 21 on Oct. 15. As of Wednesday, 37 Covid-19 patients were being treated in The City’s hospitals.

Colfax said the confirmed case rate is currently at 4 per 100,000 residents, which lands at the upper limit of the state’s orange tier level and comes out to an average of 35 new cases per day.

He said the pause was not unexpected as more businesses, non-essential offices and some schools have reopened, adding:

“As our activity increased, we realized, we knew, we expected an increase in infections was likely and we have been,and we are prepared for this.”

Colfax said that in comparison, San Francisco continues to fare better than most counties and cities throughout the state and across the nation, with the lowest death rate and highest testing rate among major urban cities.

Breed urged residents to continue to following public health guidelines and to not take in part in large gatherings and parties, especially over the Halloween weekend.

She said:

“We are tired of Covid-19, but Covid-19 is not tired of us just because we’re tired of it.”

As of Oct. 27, The City reported of 12,320 confirmed Covid-19 cases and 147 deaths linked the virus.

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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