San Francisco set for yellow tier improve subsequent Friday

San Francisco returned to the yellow league next Friday

San Francisco’s COVID cases are going in the right direction, according to city health officials, and the county has met state health officials’ criteria to move to the yellow category as early as May 7th.

In just a month, San Francisco seemed ready to move to the yellow row, only to be disappointed when COVID rates stalled. Now city public health officials can confidently say they are on the verge of moving to the yellow row on May 7th.

The city’s incumbent health officer says the city’s COVID numbers have been pointing in the right direction for the past two weeks, which means indoor bars can be reopened to 25% or 100 people as early as next week and businesses can expand.

With the move, restaurants, cinemas and gyms can increase their capacity to 50%.

San Francisco has been here before, with low infection rates and high expectations that it would move to the yellow category only to be disappointed. The last time the city got yellow was in October last year, before a vaccine was available.

Now the city’s health leaders say the city seems to be on the right track with increased vaccinations and fewer infections.

“We qualified for the yellow tier last week. You must have two weeks in a row to move to the yellow tier and we expect to be announced next week,” said Dr. Susan Philip, Assistant San Francisco Health Officer.

In practice, this means a greater opening for companies. Restaurants are likely to allow more indoor seating and bars may reopen, an important part of the city’s hospitality industry.

SEE ALSO: SF aligns with CDC on guidelines for fully vaccinated people

“We will serve in the same way as in indoor restaurants,” said Dr. Philip. “People don’t have to eat with their drinks. But they have to sit, their tables have to be six feet apart.”

Switching to yellow also means that some of the events that draw people to San Francisco can expand as well. Outdoor events like baseball games and indoor events like basketball can expand, and it even means some of the tourist and convention businesses that the city relies on can welcome visitors again.

According to the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, the expected move to the yellow tier is good news for local businesses that need predictability and reliability to replenish and recruit employees.

“Our data with the SF Chamber of Commerce actually shows that we have seen a net increase in consumer spending of about 10% since we left the purple class in April,” said Emily Abraham of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. “Coupled with the increase in job postings, which we are also seeing.”

The state’s next big move is June 15, the date the governor has set for a full reopening.

“We know everyone is fixed on June 15th and what that will mean,” said Dr. Philip. “My goal is for us to have a smooth transition up to and after that date. It won’t be turning on and off, but gradually lifting the restrictions.”

While the city is expected to move to the yellow level, the new rules will likely not go into effect until next Friday. In the meantime, health experts are stressing that people need to keep doing what got the city to this point. Despite news from the CDC, they say that face coverings may not be required outdoors, but they are still required under the city’s health guidelines.

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