More of the Bay Area will reopen for business and leisure this week as San Francisco, Marin Counties, and Santa Clara Counties transition from the red to the state’s orange tier, indicating that COVID-19 infection rates are rising from sizable levels have fallen to moderate values.
The level changes will take effect on Wednesday.
“A very large number of activities are reopening,” San Francisco officials said in a statement. “While the decline in cases is encouraging, variations remain a cause for concern and San Francisco will continue to take health precautions as it reopens. We are following the guidelines of the state as much as possible but will take special safety precautions to minimize the risk of the virus spreading. “
Under the less restrictive orange level, indoor restaurants, cafés and food courts can be opened with a capacity of 50% or 200 people, whichever is lower, and allow tables for up to 6 people from up to 3 households. Hours of operation can be extended to 11 p.m. and live entertainment including singing and wind or brass instruments is allowed. Museums, zoos and other venues could also be opened 50% with greater capacity.
The only county in the Bay Area that was already in the orange category by Tuesday morning was San Mateo.
The earliest Alameda County that can reach the orange level is March 31, and the earliest Contra Costa County that could reach that level is April 4th, county health officials said. Santa Cruz County will also have to wait until at least March 31st. Sonoma, Solano, and Napa counties also stay in the red row.
Nationwide, eight of California’s 58 counties, mostly in the Central Valley, remain in the state’s most restrictive purple layer for widespread outbreaks, while Kern, Nevada and Stanislaus moved into the red layer, which now has 39 counties.
In addition to the counties of San Francisco, San Mateo, Marin, and Santa Clara, the counties of Yolo, Trinity, Lassen, Plumas, and Mariposa are in the orange category. Sierra County joined Alpine as the only two in the least restrictive yellow series for minimal infections on Tuesday.
San Francisco officials tentatively said the move to the orange row will allow bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries to open for outdoor table service with up to 6 people per table, even without food orders.
“Our approach continues to focus on expanding outdoor activities as much as possible to create a safer environment than indoors,” city officials said in a statement.
In addition to indoor cafe and restaurant restaurants, retail stores, malls, retail services, laundromats, dry cleaners, banks, auto repairs, personal services, and equipment rentals in San Francisco can be expanded to 50% capacity. Indoor gyms can be expanded to 25% capacity, including showers and locker rooms, and aerobics group classes can be opened to 25% capacity or up to 100 people. Hotels can also open restaurants and fitness facilities.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums in the city can also be 50% full indoors, removing the capacity restrictions for outdoor areas. Indoor cinemas can be opened to either 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is lower, and open seating concessions for groups of up to 6 people from up to 3 households, provided there is a distance between them 6 feet is made up of other spectators.
Offices can be reopened for personal work schedules with up to 25% capacity and 25% capacity in conference and meeting rooms, although the city continues to encourage teleworking where possible. Employers with fewer than 20 employees do not need a capacity limit, but they must reduce the capacity required to maintain a 6-foot separation between workers.
Art, music, and theater performances and festivals organized and supervised outdoors can be open to up to 50 people to maintain social distance between viewers from different households, while food and concessions are for groups of up to 6 people who are at least 6 feet are great, can be allowed apart from others.
San Francisco officials added that under current state guidelines, spectator sports and live entertainment can be reopened to spectators from up to 120 miles away and up to 20% capacity. Starting April 1, the state’s guidelines will be expanded to allow spectator sports and live outdoor entertainment to reopen to a state audience with a capacity of up to 33%.
San Francisco officials said they are “actively working to develop local guidelines that take into account state guidance on the matter”.