San Francisco reopens indoor dining with coronavirus restrictions

Employees at the Barrel Room set tables outside of the restaurant in San Francisco
Employees at the Barrel Room set tables up over markings on the ground for social distancing outside of the restaurant in San Francisco on July 14. San Francisco will open restaurants Wednesday for limited, indoor dining.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

San Francisco is opening restaurants Wednesday for limited, indoor dining and allowing people at reduced capacity inside places of worship, Mayor London Breed announced.

City officials said indoor movie theaters could reopen with restrictions Oct. 7, and outdoor playgrounds were slated to be open by mid-October.

“We know this continues to be a challenging time with people struggling economically and emotionally,” Breed said in a written statement.

“However, thanks to San Francisco’s commitment to following public health guidance, we are seeing improvements in our numbers, which means we can continue to move forward with reopening.”

San Francisco has a daily average of 5.9 new COVID-19 cases for every 100,000 residents, a number that places the city’s risk in the moderate range. Hospitalizations have been declining, and the city’s contact tracers have been reaching 85% of people who were in contact with an infected person.

Wesley Thomas works out at Fitness SF Transbay in San Francisco earlier this month.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

Indoor dining will be limited to 25% capacity, up to 100 people. Patrons must wear face coverings except when eating or drinking and whenever a server approaches a table.

Places of worship can also reopen at 25% capacity, with up to 100 people, with face coverings required. Singing or chanting will not be permitted because singing indoors is known to spread the coronavirus.

The Board of Supervisors voted 3 to 2 to approve a motion allowing additional sectors of the economy to reopen after months of closures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sept. 29, 2020

So far, the city has given permission for 20 schools to reopen for in-person instruction and continues to review applications from others. Elementary schools are reopening first.

“Our actions to limit the spread of the virus continue to pay off,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of public health. “Since we came off the state watch list Sept. 1, we have kept a steady and gradual pace of reopening — from after-school programs and in-classroom learning to indoor personal services and restaurants.”

He urged residents to wear masks, physically distance and wash their hands frequently.

San Francisco is now in Tier 3 — the orange tier — which indicates the spread of infection is moderate.