SF Officially in “Orange” Reopening Tier (March 24 at 8am)

Posted By on March 26, 2021

Bars can finally reopen outdoors, plus expansion of indoor dining, museums, movie theaters reopenings

San Francisco Reopens And Expands Businesses And Activities As It Moves Into The State’s Orange Tier

Beginning Wednesday, March 24, San Francisco will reopen indoor offices, outdoor bars, and indoor recreation, as well as expand outdoor entertainment, and a number of activities in accordance with State restrictions and additional local limits 

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced that San Francisco will resume most businesses and activities that are allowed by the State in the orange tier for counties with moderate transmission levels, following the City’s assignment to that tier. With some exceptions, San Francisco’s reopening will align with what is permitted by the State. New and expanded businesses and activities can reopen starting Wednesday, March 24 at 8:00am, as long as they comply with required safety protocols.

Learn More About The Orange Tier

As of today, March 23, San Francisco has met the State’s criteria to advance to the less restrictive orange tier on the Blueprint for a Safer Economy, based on its COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and other health equity metrics. With this move, San Francisco will open non-essential offices up to 25% capacity, bars and breweries for outdoor service, and some indoor family recreation up to 25% capacity. San Francisco has also established a timeline to resume outdoor arts, theater, and music performances and festivals for audiences of up to 50 people beginning April 1 and is working to create guidelines for outdoor spectator sports and large outdoor entertainment venues as well.

Nearly 40% of San Francisco Has Received 1st Vaccine Dose
Further supporting San Francisco’s reopening is the City’s ongoing vaccination efforts. At this time, nearly 40% of San Francisco’s population has received the first dose of vaccine, as have 77% of the City’s residents over 65. Last week, the City began allowing anyone over the age of 16 with a qualifying underlying health condition to receive a vaccine and has the capacity to vaccinate 20,000 people a day. Although limitations to consistent COVID-19 vaccine supply remain a challenge preventing the City from distributing vaccines to its full capacity, it continues to make significant progress toward vaccinating people who live and work in San Francisco.

The City is making headway in minimizing the risk presented by the coronavirus through its vaccination efforts and its balanced approach to reopening and harm reduction behaviors. This allows key activities central to the City’s economy, such as offices, dining, and some forms of entertainment to begin to reopen. While the City is updating its health order to come into near alignment with the State reopening guidelines, it continues to limit some activities, particularly those where people to gather indoors without masks or for extended amounts of time, in order to minimize the risk to public health.

Similarly, San Francisco continues to focus on harm reduction approaches to managing public health. Health officials continue to emphasize the need for masking and social distancing by all, including those who have been vaccinated when outside their homes, prioritizing the reopening of outdoor activities, and encouraging businesses to have outdoor options wherever possible. People at risk for severe illness with COVID-19, such as unvaccinated older adults and individuals with health risks, and members of their household are urged to continue taking strong precautions by choosing lower-risk options whenever possible.

New Reopening Guidelines announced soonWith this in mind, the San Francisco Department of Public Health will issue final health and safety guidelines to reopen activities allowed under the orange tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, with some additional local restrictions, effective as of 8:00am Wednesday, March 24, 2021. The City will post the revised Health Order with detailed requirements to its webpage by the end of the day today March 23, 2021. Under the new Health Order, the following activities will be opened or expanded.

Activities to Resume Wednesday, Mar. 24, 2021

The following activities may be reopened:

  • Offices
    • Indoor non-essential offices of 20 or more employees may reopen at up to 25% capacity, including meeting and conference rooms at 25% (though use of conference rooms should be minimized).
    • Indoor offices of fewer than 20 employees must reduce their capacity to whatever allows for required 6 feet of physical distancing between employees at all times.
  • Indoor family entertainment
    • Indoor bowling alleys, mini golf, pool halls, and other family entertainment where individuals may readily maintain at least 6 feet of distance may open up to 25% capacity with groups consisting of members of one household.
    • Concessions are allowed following indoor dining rules in a separate room or with 12 feet of space from other activities.
  • Indoor recreation
    • Indoor recreational facilities may open to 25% capacity up to 100 people.
    • Up to 12 participants from up to 3 households may participate in low-contact indoor recreation (and from up to 4 households in the case of indoor tennis and pickleball).
    • Indoor organized sports for youth and adults may resume with stable groups of up to 16 participants, with no household limitation. For moderate- or high-contact sport involving middle school, high school or adult participants, regular testing and a COVID-19 prevention plan must be in place. Elementary age children may not participate in moderate or high contact sports. Spectators are not allowed in any context except the necessary supervision of children in youth sports. Adults may only participate in up to two organized activities at a time, and only one activity if it is a moderate- or high-contact sport. Youth may only participate in one organized indoor activity at a time.
    • Competitions may only occur in county or with teams from adjacent counties (i.e., Marin, San Mateo, and Alameda) in an equal or less restrictive tier. Consistent with State guidelines, travel for out of state tournaments may not take place.
    • Indoor ice hockey, wrestling, and water polo remain prohibited.
  • Indoor gatherings
    • Up to 12 people from 3 households may gather in a private residence, with face coverings and with ventilation measures and distancing urged. Such gatherings are discouraged unless they are gatherings with vaccinated individuals consistent with CDC guidelines. If possible gatherings should take place outdoors.
  • Outdoor bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries
    • Bars, breweries, wineries and distilleries may open for outdoor, seated table service of up to 6 people at a table without the provision of a meal. Guests may not mingle between tables. Indoor bars, breweries and wineries without meal service remain closed.

The following activities may expand their operating capacity:

  • Dining
    • Indoor dining at restaurants, bars serving meals, cafes and coffee shops, hotels, museums, and food courts in shopping malls may expand to 50% capacity up to 200 patrons. Table size may expand to up to 6 guests from up to 3 households. Service must end by 11:00 pm.
    • Outdoor dining may remove restrictions of number of households seated at a table and may allow group reservations of up to two tables outdoors (12 people maximum). Tables remain limited to 6 guests. Tables may be seated outdoors for drink service only.
  • Gyms and Fitness
    • Indoor gyms, fitness centers and climbing walls may expand to 25% capacity up to 100 patrons, including youth patrons under the age of 18.
    • Group fitness classes including cardio may resume up to lesser of 25% capacity or 100 people.
    • Indoor locker rooms and showers may open with the implementation of a DPH approved ventilation measure. Indoor sauna, steam rooms and hot tubs remain closed.
    • The 25-person limitation to outdoor fitness classes is lifted as long as physical distancing between participants can be maintained.
  • Retail
    • Stand-alone retail, shopping centers, low-contact retail services, equipment rental, financial institutions, laundromats, etc. may expand indoor customer capacity to 50%.
    • Personnel may handle customer-supplied items such as reusable bags, jars, mugs, and other containers.
  • Personal services
  • Indoor personal services may expand to 50% customer capacity.

o   Seated food or beverage concessions may resume for groups of audience members of up to 6 people from up to 3 households so long as there is 6 feet of distance between them and other audience members and a DPH approved ventilation measure is in place.

  • If there are multiple auditoriums, each auditorium is limited to the lesser of 50% or 200 people provided the theater complex does not exceed 50% capacity.

Activities that will resume at a later date:

  • Outdoor arts, music, and theater performances and festivals
    • Starting April 1, organized outdoor arts and performance events may take place with audiences of up to 50 people with a Health and Safety Plan submitted at least 5 days before the event.
    • Assigned seats are not required but social distancing between audience members must be maintained.
    • Seated concessions are allowed following outdoor dining or bar health guidelines.
  • Outdoor spectator sports and large outdoor entertainment facilities
    • Starting April 1, outdoor spectator sports and live entertainment venues with assigned seating may reopen with capacity restrictions and other operating guidelines with an approved Health and Safety plan.
  • Overnight Youth Camps
    • Starting June 1, overnight youth camps may resume following State guidance.

Stay safe!


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