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San Francisco to resume outdoor dining, but travel quarantine remains in effect

A man wears a mask while cleaning a dining table at the Hook in San Francisco in June.
A man wearing a mask cleans an outdoor dining table at the Hook at Pier 39 in San Francisco in June. San Francisco announced Monday that outdoor dining can resume Thursday, but a quarantine requirement will remain for travel to help limit the spread of COVID-19.
(Jeff Chiu / Associated Press)

San Francisco will permit restaurants to reopen for outdoor dining and hair stylists and barbers to resume limited service on Thursday, but a curfew and travel quarantine requirements will remain in place, city officials said Monday.

During an online news conference, Mayor London Breed cautioned residents to continue wearing masks, distancing and frequently washing their hands as the city reopens.

“Just keep in mind that this is not an open door for us to all of a sudden let our hair down and do whatever we want,” Breed said.

The city expects to be placed in the most restrictive purple tier on Tuesday but can reopen as a result of the state’s decision to lift an emergency stay-home order intended to try to ensure room in intensive care units during the holiday surge.

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The city will continue to keep in place a curfew prohibiting nonessential businesses and gatherings from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. and an order requiring travelers to San Francisco from outside the Bay Area to quarantine for 10 days.

The reopening will permit all personal services, including massage and tattoo parlors, to resume with mask requirements, allow zoos and museums to reopen outdoors and hotels to open to tourists. City officials said they were equipped to be vaccinating many more people but continue to have an inadequate supply of the vaccine.

San Francisco experienced a scare last week when officials reported the city could run out of vaccine by Thursday, in part because of state warnings about a suspect batch of Moderna doses. After those doses were deemed safe, the city was able to continue vaccinations with no lapse.

County officials say they have most of the resources — large vaccine centers and personnel to run them — but lack the doses they need.

Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director, said his department is set to receive 10,575 doses this week and they are “ready to go out the door right now.”

“We need more vaccine,” he said.

He said the entire city so far has received 127,000 doses and administered 59,000 doses. The remaining 59,000 doses already have been scheduled to be given to people needing first and second doses, he said.

Asked why the city was reopening in the presence of new, more infectious variants of the virus, Colfax said “there is no reason to panic” about the variants as long as people continue to mask and follow other precautions. Other Bay Area counties this week are expected to reopen similarly to San Francisco, he said.

San Francisco’s ICU capacity remains stable at 26%, and the infection rate in the city has fallen to below one, Breed said.

San Francisco began preparing for a vaccine rollout in August, ordering the refrigerators needed to keep doses at their required temperature, she said, but vaccinations continue to be limited by supply. Healthcare workers and people 65 and older in San Francisco are now entitled to receive the vaccine.

As soon as more doses come in, “they will be out on the street in someone’s arm so we can get things rolling again,” she said.


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