The state of California has confirmed that the city and county of San Francisco have been cleared for the least restrictive yellow tier as expected for weeks. The SF Department of Health held a webinar highlighting the expected changes last week, and Mayor London N. Breed and Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax officially confirmed the animal change today. San Francisco will wait a few days for local restrictions to be lifted starting this Thursday, May 6th. Although it’s been at its peak for weeks, Marin didn’t make the cut, even though LA is legal elsewhere in the state as well. This makes San Francisco the first county in the Bay Area to achieve the least restrictive yellow level, allowing 25 percent capacity bars to be reopened for indoor use and fully vaccinated individuals to remove masks for outdoor dining.
Mayor Breed and Dr. Colfax said in a statement that the yellow will generally expand most activity to 50 percent indoor capacity unless otherwise stated. This is big news for bars that are allowed to reopen indoors for the first time in more than a year, with a capacity of 25 percent or up to 100 people, whether they serve food or not. And as already announced on Monday, May 3rd, the mask restrictions for outdoor activities are loosening, as the California Department of Health is based on the new guidelines of the CDC. In particular, fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear masks for outdoor dining, provided tables are six feet apart. (Unvaccinated individuals are still advised to wear face masks outdoors, and everyone must continue to wear face masks indoors.)
“This is an incredible milestone that we must reach on our path to recovery. This is possible because we go out of our way to vaccinate everyone we can in this city and how good the San Francisco people are. I was listening to public health officials, ”Mayor Breed said in a statement. “The yellow level means that there are no longer any companies in this city that have to keep their doors closed, and it means that we can continue to do more activities with more people safely. To keep up this progress, we need every Franciscan over 16 years – and hopefully soon over 12 years – to receive a vaccine. While we know that we must all continue to be careful, the more people we protect, the more we can do. “
Not only did San Francisco meet state requirements for COVID cases and hospitalizations to reach the tier, but vaccine numbers are also looking better and better. The statement confirms that now 72 percent of adults over 16 have received a first dose and 86 percent of residents over 65 have received a first dose. Still, officials are watching new variants and growing cases on the west coast in Oregon and Washington.
“We’re excited to hear that San Francisco has entered the yellow step of the state,” said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA), the local restaurant lobby group. “We would like to reiterate that this animal swap and any subsequent reopening, including the June 15th date, is contingent on people continuing to adhere to the existing restrictions and getting vaccinated as soon as possible. We urge our industry and all Franciscans to focus on reopening safely. “
For more details on the list of approved activities under the new health regulation, please see the full statement.