Mayor London Breed laid out specific timeframes for the next phases of San Francisco's reopening of businesses on Thursday, and for the first time restaurants, bars, hair salons, and gyms have some target dates to resume semi-regular business.
Phase 3 for San Francisco, which some parts of California are already moving into in the next week, won't be arriving until mid-August, Breed said in her regular video address from City Hall. But come June 15 — or two weeks from Monday — restaurants in the city can restart outdoor dining, much the way Sonoma County has chosen to allow outdoor, but not indoor dining for now.
Retail businesses will be able to allow customers inside their premises on June 15, religious services can resume, and non-emergency medical appointment can resume as well. Also, outdoor exercise classes can resume as well.
"We’re entering a new phase of this crisis and we feel comfortable that we’re at a place that we can begin reopening parts of our economy, but that is not to say that this virus doesn’t continue to threaten our city," Breed said in a statement. She further said that the health order asking people to generally stay at home if they can is staying in place "indefinitely."
"Would I like to open faster? Yes." Breed said. "But what this means for our city is getting adjusted to the new normal." She further said that this "new normal," including mask-wearing orders and limitations to how various businesses operate, will go on "anywhere for the next 12 to 18 months," or "until we have a vaccine."
She cited the grim pandemic picture in Italy and New York City of the last two months, saying, "What we want to do is avoid going there" by reopening too quickly.
Barbershops, hair salons, and realtors will be allowed to reopen on July 13 by appointment only, and restaurants will be able to allow indoor dining on July 13 as well. Bars that don't serve food, gyms, nail salons, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, schools, playgrounds, and museums are not going to be able to welcome people back until mid-August, with an exact date still TBA. And nightclubs, concert venues, and sports arenas fall into Phase 4, which has no projected date as of yet.
"We wanted to make sure we continue to look at recovery with an equity lens," says Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu. She said that the city's decision to move restaurants and retail reopenings further up in the timeline had to do with the fact that these sectors were both the hardest hit in the city, and that these sectors represent the most economically vulnerable residents of the city.
As the Examiner reports, over 100,000 SF residents have applied for unemployment benefits, and a large portion of those are restaurant and retail workers.
Mayor Breed also answered questions about what effect homeless encampments on sidewalks may have on retail reopenings — she essentially said "we're doing our best" with regard to homelessness, which her critics will surely dispute — and about why the city is moving on its own timeline apart from other nearby counties.
"As a region we are closely tied to one another," Breed said. "People come from all over the Bay Area to work in this city." But she explained that San Francisco will be reopening various businesses "when it all makes sense" for the city based on health data, but its decisions will be different than other Bay Area counties because it is a denser city with its own specific circumstances.
As of earlier this week, Breed announced that restaurants will be able to apply for expedited permits to take over sidewalk, street parking, and other public right-of-way space in order to allow more outdoor seating. So in two weeks, expect to start seeing a lot more tables taking over alleyways and previously table-free sidewalks.