San Francisco is still in the least restrictive yellow category, and it seems like there is nothing more to do than wait for California to fully reopen on June 15th to experience full freedom. But as we have seen in the past, officials can choose to slightly expand the rules within a certain level. The health director Dr. Grant Colfax and Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip announced yesterday, May 20th, that they are relaxing the rules for standing in bars, such as placing an order with an actual bartender at the actual bar – which is good news on the way into the weekend.

Diners no longer have to sit down to consume food and drink in restaurants and bars. So it’s okay to stand at a bar, counter, or high table. And while guests still need to be separated from other guests, they don’t have to be away from the staff behind the bar. So it’s okay to sit or stand right across from a bartender or even a sushi chef at an omakase counter. It’s also okay to have a drink at a pool table or arcade game, as long as groups are limited to eight people and there is a two-meter gap between groups.

In short: If you want to have a drink in a bar this weekend, you are not restricted to your seat, but can stand and even get up to the bar. But you still can’t walk around having conversations with random groups of people. So don’t start roaming pubs just yet. San Francisco is also relaxing the rules for outdoor venues, including requirements for verification of vaccination records and a few other details, all of which can be found on the city’s website.

San Francisco entered the yellow tier on May 6 when it was the first county in the Bay Area to reach this least restrictive tier. It has since been linked by San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. The yellow row eventually reopened the indoor drinking bars with a 25 percent capacity, and the SF bars shared excitement and relief. And now you will surely appreciate a little more flexibility – letting people stand is a small step closer to your original service style.

And even if it’s not a major change of animals, it’s encouraging to have a new set of statistics: San Francisco currently has an average of less than 18 cases of COVID per day, the lowest since the March 2020 crisis. And 76 percent of all eligible San Franciscans have now been vaccinated. We run every other city in the country and most of the countries in the world.

“I am pleased to say that we are on our way home to reopen,” said Dr. Philip in the press release. “I would like to welcome the Franciscans for their commitment to upholding public health guidelines. Our diligence meant we had the lowest mortality rate for any city of our density in the country. We can now enjoy the fruits of our efforts by further easing our health restrictions. We have every reason to be optimistic that on June 15th we will achieve the goal of a wider reopening. In the meantime, go ahead and get vaccinated. “