In San Francisco, alfresco dining and other restricted business activities may resume Thursday morning after the state lifted the stay-at-home order from weeks ago amid rapidly increasing COVID-19.
However, there will be a 10:00 p.m. curfew and 10-day quarantine for travelers entering San Francisco from outside the Bay Area.
With the order being lifted on Monday, the state is returning to its color-coded four-tier system that restricts counties based on the risk of transmission of the virus, which is determined by various metrics.
San Francisco is expected to remain in the purple category, the highest risk category with the most restrictions, when the state updates the counties’ status on Tuesday. However, this means the city can resume business that was closed or restricted when the state’s stay at home order was issued in early December.
“The good news is we are in a better place than we have been in a long time,” Mayor London told Breed as he announced what can be reopened. Daily cases in San Francisco averages 261 now, compared to a high of 372.
As of Thursday, restaurants can again dine outdoors with certain restrictions. The tables must be at least one meter apart and no more than six people per table from no more than two households may be admitted.
Indoor and outdoor personal service companies, including nail salons, hairdressers, and massage services, may reopen. However, face covering must be worn at all times. The operation of zoos and museums in the open air can be resumed up to 50 percent.
Hotels can book rooms for tourists. However, because San Francisco will maintain its 10-day travel quarantine, reservations need only be made for those arriving from outside the Bay Area for 10 days or more.
The city has decided to maintain the 10 p.m. to 5 p.m. curfew, which prohibits non-essential businesses from working and meeting with members outside of their household during these times. It was originally imposed by the state in November, but the state lifted it along with the order on Monday. Counties can, however, impose stricter measures. The curfew will remain in place until The City enters the red level, the second most restrictive category. People can leave their homes during the curfew.
Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, which advocates restaurants in San Francisco, was against maintaining the curfew.
“It means that restaurants can no longer realistically sit down after 8:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.,” said Thomas. “This means that many restaurants lose revenue if they are unable to set the table for a second seat.”
She added that alfresco dining has its limits in helping restaurants keep their businesses going, and she will “continue to advocate additional federal, state and city funding”.
Small gatherings of up to three households with a maximum of 12 people are again allowed if social distance is maintained and no food or drink is consumed. Some of the capacity limits set during the order can be expanded. Grocery stores can increase capacity from 35% to 50%.
The state order was imposed when a region’s ICU bed capacity fell below 15 percent, although San Francisco imposed the order earlier than the state mandated and stopped outdoor dining and other activities in early December.
The California Department of Health ended regional stay-at-home orders after ICU capacity was forecast to exceed 15% after four weeks. The Bay Area ICU capacity is expected to be 25% on Feb.21 and nationwide capacity is 30.3%.
While Governor Gavin Newsom warned that “we are not out of the woods,” he cited promising declines in transfer rates as the reason for the order being canceled. The state’s two-week positivity rate has dropped to 9.5% since Monday, when it was 13.6% two weeks ago. The state saw ICU admissions decrease 9.5% from 4,854 to 4,395 in the past two weeks.
“We are able to forecast a significant decline in case rates and positivity rates for four weeks. We expect a decrease, an even bigger decrease in hospital stays and a further decrease in intensive care units. We are therefore canceling this stay. Home order effectively immediately today, ”said Newsom.
When asked if he was moving too fast amid concerns about new, allegedly more contagious variants of COVID-19, Newsom defended the move. “We’re still at these levels, levels that we believe served us well,” Newsom said. “When we see things break in a direction that was not expected, we will take a step to address it.”
He also gave promising indication of further easing of state restrictions in the near future.
“We’ll hopefully move through the steps quickly,” said Newsom.
Bay Area NewsCaliforniaCoronavirusPoliticssan Francisco News
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