After Friday, San Francisco restaurants will no longer be permitted to serve diners indoors, a change to local health guidelines prompted by an increase in Covid-19 cases.
City officials announced during a Tuesday press conference that new restrictions will be effective Friday at 11:59 p.m.
Restaurants were permitted to open indoor dining operations on Sept. 30, serving up to 25 percent capacity. Little more than a month later, eateries will be forced to serve people outdoors only or not at all.
“Sadly, what we’re seeing now today has put us in a situation that we have to take a moment and recognize that there is a problem. The uptick that we have seen is really a cause for concern.”
Additionally, gyms and movie theaters will have to roll back capacity to the lesser of 25 percent or 50 people, down from 100 people previously allowed.
The City is not allowing additional high schools to reopen for in-person learning, but limited high schools already providing with in-class instruction can continue.
Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said The City has seen an increase in the month of October from 3.7 cases per 100,000 residents to now 9 cases per 100,000 — equivalent to about 80 new cases per day.
Colfax said the increase in cases is consistent with what is happening across the state, adding:
“While California still remains in much better shape in terms of case increases compared to the rest of the nation. California has seen a 29 percent increase in new cases over the past two weeks.”
The City can expect to see 300 cases per day by late December if cases continue to increase at the current rate, Colfax said:
“If we do not pause and we do not reverse. it is entirely plausible that we will face a situation where our healthcare system could become overwhelmed and reverse the current progress that we’ve made all these many months.”
The City’s last substantial case surge occurred over the summer, specifically on July 19. Colfax said the current surge is on track to exceed the summer wave.
As Thanksgiving is fast approaching, officials also warned residents about traveling during the holidays. Colfax stressed that it is best if residents do not travel or gather with family and friends outside of one’s household. Colfax said:
“This is not the year to pull together a big holiday table with multiple members of your family indoors, potentially spreading the virus to your loved ones.”
The mayor said she knows residents are tired of Covid-19 and acknowledges sacrifices people have made during the pandemic, but added:
“The hard choices that we make now will help make things better for us in the future. It will get our city open. It will get our businesses open, it will get our kids back in school faster. So we have to continue to make the hard choices.”
As of Saturday, the Department of Public Health reported a total of 13,139 confirmed cases and 151 Covid-19 deaths.