Outdoor dining can resume in San Francisco starting Thursday, now that COVID case numbers are decreasing the state has lifted the regional stay-at-home orders that began over a month ago.
Exact details about the new public-health orders were given in an afternoon press conference, but Mayor London Breed pre-empted the announcement with a tweet Monday morning saying, "We will be moving forward with some limited re-openings, including outdoor dining and personal services."
Given the coming rain storms this week, and the fact that many businesses went into hibernation over the holidays, it's likely that restaurants will not be throwing tables back out on the sidewalk and in parklets immediately, but it could happen soon!
Breed says she expects San Francisco to return to "Purple" tier status, along with most other counties in the state, as daily case totals remain high here and elsewhere. But as hospital bed capacities increase and a predicted surge connected to New Year's Eve celebrations failed to materialize, life in much of the state will soon be taking another step back toward normalcy.
"I'm excited we're able to do this, and I know that it will provide some relief to small businesses and workers that have been really struggling for months now," Breed says. "But this pandemic is not over. We have to keep doing the things we know help keep our cases under control."
In the city's afternoon press conference, Breed further detailed the city's updated orders, which include allowing indoor and outdoor personal services, like barbershops, hair salons, massage parlors, and nail salons, to resume with mandatory mask-wearing at all times.
Restaurants can resume outdoor dining as of Thursday, January 28 (or after it stops raining), but tables must again be six feet apart, seating a maximum of six people at each table from a maximum of two separate households.
Indoor fitness at boutique studios can resume with one-on-one training, but it sounds like gyms aren't reopening just yet until SF moves back to the "Red" tier.
Breed further encourages everyone to continue wearing masks in public, limiting all social gatherings to the outdoors, and keeping any indoor encounters short and well ventilated.
I'm excited we're able to do this, and I know that it will provide some relief to small businesses and workers that have been really struggling for months now.— London Breed (@LondonBreed) January 25, 2021
But this pandemic is not over. We have to keep doing the things we know help keep our cases under control.
San Francisco hotels and Airbnbs can resume accepting out-of-town guests, however the 10-day mandatory quarantine for travelers remains in effect, which means that anyone booking a stay will need to be in the city for more than 10 days — and to remain sequestered for the first 1o.
Grocery stores are being allowed to increase maximum capacity to 50% of normal, up from 35%.
Also, the city is leaving in place a 10 p.m. curfew for all non-essential activities — but just as we said when the curfew first took effect in December, this doesn't impact a ton of business activity since most restaurants were stopping serving around 9 p.m. anyway.
Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, tells the Examiner that the 10 p.m. curfew will have an adverse effect on restaurants going forward, because they "won’t realistically be able to seat after 8-8:30 p.m.," in order to comply. This will limit the number of seatings they can accommodate per night, but it still may not be drastically different from what we saw in the fall.
See the full press conference below.
Photo: The back patio at Um.ma in the Sunset, courtesy of Um.ma
This post has been updated with information from the city's 1:15 p.m. press conference.