San Francisco could advance from purple to red ranks on Wednesday in California’s color-coded reopening frame that dictates it. If the city makes the leap, various activities and businesses, including restaurants with restrictions, could reopen.
The state will announce the new levels on Tuesday. If the city meets the criteria for the red tier, it will officially move into the new tier on Wednesday.
Mayor London Breed suggested on Twitter last week that the city is likely to go into the red and posted a list of what the county is allowed to open in the red row.
The list includes:
- Expansion of outdoor dining to three households of up to six people
- Facilitating personal services that require mask removal outdoors and indoors, with specific health and safety measures
- Opening of indoor restaurants (including bars with full catering service, food courts, hotel restaurants) with a capacity of 25%, but limited to four people from a household, with indoor dinner ending until 10 p.m. and other safety requirements being met
- Opening of indoor gyms and fitness centers with a capacity of 10%
- Opening of indoor museums, zoos and aquariums with a capacity of 25%
- Opening of indoor cinemas with a capacity of 25% without concessions
- Opening of stand-alone amusement park rides such as ferris wheels, carousels and train rides
- Removal of nighttime restrictions on gatherings and non-essential business activities between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
- Allow restricted use of indoor pools
“With the continued improvement of our COVID-19 health indicators, we could move to the state red by next Wednesday, March 3rd,” wrote Breed on Twitter. “This is a big step forward but we still have to keep moving forward.”
She continued, “More and more people are being vaccinated every day and I am proud of the work all of our residents have done to slow the spread. But we cannot disappoint our guard, we do not want to go backwards,” wrote Breed on Twitter. “The end of this pandemic is in sight, let’s get there safely together.”
The allocation of the stages of a county in the context of the reopening of the state is mainly based on two metrics: the case rate (the number of new cases per 100,000 population, which is adjusted based on the test volume) and the 7-day positivity rate (the percentage of people who who test positive) for the virus from all people tested). In order for a district to switch to the red category, it has to report an average of four to seven cases per 100,000 inhabitants and a test positivity of 5% to 8% on 14 consecutive days.
There is also a third metric, the health equity metric, which the state considers for larger counties. Its purpose is to encourage counties to test for COVID-19 in deprived neighborhoods and to ensure that positivity rates in those neighborhoods do not lag far behind the districts overall quota.
It’s been nearly a month since Newsom canceled the regional stay-at-home order, allowing the Bay Area counties to reopen several areas of business, including outdoor dining and some indoor personal services like haircuts.
When the order ended on Jan. 25, all nine counties in the region moved to the purple plain in the governor’s color-coded reopening frame. Only Marin and San Mateo have gotten into the red.
The state system sorts counties into four levels – “purple” (widespread), “red” (significant), “orange” (moderate) or “yellow” (minimal) – which measure and determine the spread of COVID-19, what types of COVID-19 companies and activities may be opened. The structure allows the counties to be more restrictive and to move more slowly than the state when they reopen if they so choose.
When a county moves from the purple to the red tier, it can increase retail capacity and allow multiple sectors to open with changes and indoor capacity constraints, including museums, zoos, aquariums, gyms, cinemas, restaurants, and places of worship. A county may choose to be stricter than the state and not open all the state-approved sectors.
Elementary schools can work with personal learning at the purple level; Gymnasiums and middle schools can also be opened in the red row.