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San Francisco expects to move next week into the yellow tier of the state’s reopening blueprint, which means bars can finally serve thirsty patrons indoors beginning Friday.

Indoor bar service will be limited to 25 percent capacity, up to 100 people, without having to offer food, said Dr. Susan Philip, The City’s acting public health officer. Philip Thursday previewed changes expected to roll out when San Francisco is assigned to the less-restrictive tier.

Indoor patrons will have to be seated at tables and will not be permitted to walk around, Philip said. For outdoor bars and dining, face mask requirements will be lifted if tables are 6 feet apart, though people will still be expected to wear face coverings if they enter the bar or restaurant. Philip recommends patrons who have not been vaccinated continue wearing face masks while at outdoor bars and restaurants.

Capacity for indoor dining will remain at 50 percent, but the 200-person cap will be lifted. Additionally, restaurants can resume buffets and self-serve items, such as sushi boats and yogurt stations.

Office capacity will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent, but the state still encourages employees to telecommute if they can do so. Vaccinated employees will not count against the capacity limit, Philip said.

In recent weeks, The City, under the state’s orange tier, has allowed indoor and outdoor sporting events to resume with limited fans, including San Francisco Giants games at Oracle Park and Golden State Warriors games at Oracle Park.

City officials had hoped to move out of the state’s orange tier sometime in April, but daily case rates had not dropped far enough to meet state requirements.

Data provided by the Department of Public Health shows an average of 27 new Covid-19 cases per day as of Friday. Just 22 Covid-19 patients were hospitalized citywide as of Monday, which is a dramatic decrease from the nearly 260 recorded in January during the winter surge.

Philip said:

“There’s real progress and this is something to be celebrated.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued revised guidance that suggests fully vaccinated people do not to need to wear face masks in small outdoor gatherings with others who have been fully vaccinated. Philip, however, said The City will wait to receive guidance from the California Department of Public Health before lifting outdoor mask rules.

Still, Philip said she anticipates The City will largely follow the CDC guidelines on outdoor masks, adding that she still recommends people to carry a mask just in case.

On the effort to vaccinate residents, DPH reports that 71 percent of residents over the age 16 have been vaccinated with at least one dose and 47 percent of residents have been fully vaccinated.

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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