San Francisco will align with California’s June 15 reopening guidelines, city officials said during a virtual meeting addressing local businesses Wednesday.
The City’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Susan Philip, said San Francisco has done a remarkable job vaccinating residents and keeping Covid-19 cases at low levels. The Department of Public Health reports that nearly 80 percent of eligible residents have at least received one vaccine dose. Nearly 70 percent of eligible residents have completed the vaccine series.
“We have an environment that is so much more safe than it was previously in the winter.”
There is “very little risk” to fully vaccinated residents who resume daily in-person activities Philip said, adding that The City’s low case rate helps reduce risk for unvaccinated individuals as well.
Philip said The City plans to drop its face mask mandate for fully vaccinated persons unless otherwise required by federal, state and local laws. While the new public health order will not require that vaccinated customers wear face masks indoors, businesses can opt to maintain the requirement if they see fit. State guidelines continue the mask mandate for unvaccinated people in public indoor settings, though proof will not be requested.
Capacity limits and social distancing will largely go away, but Philip said additional requirements may be imposed for indoor events with groups larger than 5,000 people and for outdoor events with crowds of more than 10,000.
“We just may have some additional requirements for reporting to us, what the plan is going to be for ensuring safety and for indoor events, in helping ensure that people have been tested or vaccinated who attend.”
The City also plans to be stricter in settings that are known to have a higher risk of transmission of the virus, including in homeless shelters, health care facilities and residential facilities for seniors.
Face mask requirements will not go away for public transportation. The Transportation Security Administration said in April that passengers at airports, on commercial flights, on commuter buses and using rail systems will need to continue wearing masks through Sept. 13.
Mayor London Breed said she is excited to see the state’s colored tiered system to go away. Acknowledging that The City has sometimes been more conservative in its reopening than the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy dictated, she said:
“That’s okay because we have been focused on saving lives and we have saved lives.”
Dr. Monica Gandhi, associate division chief at UCSF’s Division of HIV, Infectious Diseases & Global Medicine, joined Dr. Marc Siegel on SiriusXM’s “Doctor Radio Reports” and said The City is on its way to reaching herd immunity — the point at which a large enough portion of the population is immunized to significantly reduce risk of virus transmission.
“We haven’t had a death in San Francisco, thank God, from Covid for over a month, hospitalizations are extremely low and cases are about a dozen a day with massive testing in a city of 896,000 people. So, if that isn’t herd immunity, I mean I’m not sure what is.”
As of Thursday, health officers for all other eight Bay Area counties have indicated they will also adopt the state’s relaxed guidance on June 15.