San Francisco will most likely advance next week to the orange tier in California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which will allow non-essential offices to reopen and increase capacity limits for indoor dining.
Earlier this month, The City was moved into the second most restrictive red tier, allowing restaurants to reopen dining rooms at a limited capacity.
On Thursday, Mayor London Breed joined public health officials with the Department of Public in an online conversation about what businesses can expect in the next phase. The change will most likely happen on Tuesday with eased restrictions effective Wednesday morning, Breed said:
“I understand that the reopening that we have planned for the orange tear is more than we’ve ever reopened at one time since the beginning of this.”
“A whole host of activities can expand their capacities to do more business, serve more people from restaurants, to retail, to gyms, to youth sports programs, to museums, to cultural centers.”
Acting Public Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip reviewed some of the most notable changes that would occur under the orange tier, including:
- Non-essential offices would reopen at 25 percent capacity, but officials are still encouraging employees to telecommute if possible.
- Outdoor bars can serve beverages to seated patrons without having to serve food. No more than six people can be seated at one table and patrons must consume the beverage at the table.
- Live entertainment and festivals can resume with up to 50 people, but organizers must submit health and safety plans to DPH. Approval by The City’s health officer is not required.
- Restaurants can increase indoor dining capacity to 50 percent or up to 200 people, whichever is less, with tables limited to six people from up to three households. Mandatory closing time would be extended from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.
- Outdoor dining would not be subject to a limit on number of households seated together, but tables will be limited to six people.
- Gyms and Fitness centers can reopen at 25 percent capacity, including cardio and aerobic group classes. Indoor locker rooms and gym showers can also reopen.
- Indoor retail and grocery stores can increase capacity to 50 percent.
- Indoor zoos, museums, aquariums and movie theaters can reopen at 50 percent capacity.
Based on current case and vaccination rates, officials said it’s possible that The City could be moved to the less restrictive yellow tier just weeks after the state approves the orange tier designation.
Addressing worries among San Francisco Giants fans, Breed said:
“We know the Giants Opening Day is coming soon and we are definitely working on it.”
San Francisco’s rate of new Covid-19 cases remains “low,” Philip said, with a recent average of about 32 new cases per day. Still, Philip advises residents to remain diligent as restrictions ease.
“We are coming into closer and closer contact with each other, more and more opportunities for transmission. But we know how to stop that transmission. By now, we’re experts at masking, at distancing, at following the guidelines and the procedures.”
If San Francisco is in fact moved to the orange tier next week, new health orders and guidelines should be posted on the DPH website Tuesday, Philip said.