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San Francisco, ‘in an amazing place,’ resumes indoor dining as coronavirus cases fall

Boy climbs a tree while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco
A boy climbs a tree while looking at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco in 2019.
(Josh Edelson / For The Times)

San Francisco will resume indoor dining on Wednesday as the city moves out of the most restrictive coronavirus tier for reopening.

“We are in an amazing place,” said a jubilant Mayor London Breed at an outdoor news conference on Tuesday. “We are not completely where we want to be, but better than we have been since October of last year.”

A sharp decline in coronavirus cases is moving San Francisco from the most restrictive purple tier for widespread prevalence of the virus into the next level, red, for substantial spread. In the past, the city allowed indoor dining only when cases had dropped to the point that it qualified for the lower, orange tier, for counties where virus spread is moderate.

The pervasive fear is gone, though not everyone is ready to resume pre-pandemic habits after receiving both vaccine doses.

This time, restaurants can reopen for indoor services at 25% capacity with tables limited to parties of no more than four people, all from a single household. Indoor dining will close at 10 p.m. but later hours will be permitted for eating outdoors.

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Breed said San Franciscans will once again be able to get facials, visit museums and theaters and ride the huge Ferris wheel at Golden Gate Park.

More than 20% of San Franciscans have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to city officials, compared with 16% of the population statewide. Nearly two-thirds of those 65 and older in San Francisco have received at least one shot.

“As we continue to gradually reopen, we need to be aware of the risks and to stay vigilant, especially while vaccines remain limited and the growing presence of more contagious variants pose an increased risk of greater community spread,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, the city’s public health director.

During the past seven days, San Francisco has reported an average of 65.3 cases a day, a nearly 39% drop from two weeks ago, according to The Times’ COVID-19 tracker.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in California.

The move into the red tier allows middle and high schools that have not yet reopened to resume indoor instruction with a city-approved safety plan.

Gyms and climbing walls may reopen indoors at 10% capacity, and museums, zoos and aquariums at 25% capacity. Indoor theaters also will reopen at 25% capacity or a maximum of 100 people, whichever is less, but no food or drinks may be sold at concession counters.

The city also is relaxing rules for outdoor dining, allowing groups of up to six people from three households to eat together.


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