Six months into a pandemic, with ongoing restrictions on what businesses can be open and how and when, Mayor London Breed knows that even in mostly compliant, science-trusting San Francisco, people are reaching the end of their ropes in many cases.
"People are pretty much tired of what we’re living in, as it relates to COVID. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of living in it," Breed said in her usually candid fashion in a press conference Tuesday. "I’m tired of doing all the things you are tired of doing, because I want to enjoy my life. I want to live. I want to go back to normal."
But, she cautioned, we still haven't turned any corners on the coronavirus, it's still spreading in the Bay Area, and there's even been an uptick in hospitalizations in San Francisco in the last week. "We are not out of the woods when it comes to COVID," she said.
"Unfortunately, this is a deadly virus and this has a significant impact on our most vulnerable, including our elderly," she said. "The only way we continue in this direction [with reopening] has everything to do with each and every one of us. Our small businesses have been struggling for months, and even as we are reopening, these businesses are barely getting by. We need to do everything we can to keep our businesses stable and our commercial corridors from seeing even more vacancies."
SF Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax then took the podium, as he typically does after Breed, cautioned that gatherings over the Labor Day holiday may or may not have contributed to the 29-percent uptick in hospitalizations we're seeing now. Colfax further said that the city has exceeded its daily testing goal, and it is now conducting 3,300 tests per day, with average turnaround times for results of 1.5 days.
San Francisco's new COVID cases have been trending downward in general, with average daily upticks of 62 cases since the start of September. That is down 35 percent from an average of 96 new cases per day in August. The cumulative total is now 10,430.
Breed said that reopening hair salons, barbershops, massage studios, gyms, and nail salons this week for indoor operations is a "big step" and everyone must be vigilant in their personal lives to keep the city from again having to "turn back the clock" and re-close businesses.
Regarding the potential for reopening indoor dining at restaurants, Breed said in an interview today with the SF Business Times, "We are working right now to try and come up with a very creative solution to allow some level of indoor dining which we’re hopeful will happen." But referring to a CDC study published last week that suggested exposure risks for restaurant-goers, Dr. Grant Colfax said that such data "gives us pause." Still, he added, "We are working with restaurant industry stakeholders to determine what safer reopening might look like, what that capacity might be. And we'll hopefully have more information to share on any type of reopening for indoor restaurants."
Below is video from Tuesday's press event.