More of the Bay Area could reopen for business and recreational activities this week as San Francisco, Marin Counties, and Santa Clara expect to transition from the state’s red to the orange tier, indicating that the COVID-19 Infection rates have dropped from significant to moderate levels.
Officials from San Francisco said the state could announce today that they will move to the orange row on Wednesday and that they are working on finalizing health guidelines for the reopening.
“A very large number of activities are reopening,” San Francisco officials said in a statement. “While the decline in cases is encouraging, variations remain a cause for concern and San Francisco will continue to take health precautions as it reopens. We are following the guidelines of the state as much as possible but will take special safety precautions to minimize the risk of the virus spreading. “
Entry into the orange range looked promising for Marin County as well.
“We are cautiously optimistic,” said Marin County spokeswoman Laine Hendricks. “Our data looks good from our point of view, but the state can sometimes see things a little differently.”
The outlook for Santa Clara County also looked promising, but county officials were unable to confirm Tuesday morning that they would be eligible for the orange level.
The only county in the Bay Area that was in the orange row on Tuesday morning was San Mateo.
The earliest Alameda County that can reach the orange level is March 31, and the earliest Contra Costa County that could reach that level is April 4th, county health officials said. Santa Cruz County will also have to wait at least until March 31st.
Officials in Sonoma and Solano counties said they will not switch to the orange tier this week. Napa County officials didn’t have an immediate response, but the daily case rate remains too high to enter the orange tier.
Nationwide, 11 of California’s 58 counties in the Central Valley and along the Sierra Nevada, which are home to one in ten Californians, are still in the state’s most restrictive purple layer for widespread outbreaks. Most – 42 counties home to more than 35 million of California’s 40 million people – are in the red row.
In addition to the district of San Mateo, the districts of Plumas, Sierra and Mariposa are in the orange area. Only one county – Alpine – had advanced to the least restrictive yellow tier for minimal infections as of Tuesday morning.
San Francisco officials tentatively said the move to the orange row will allow bars, breweries, wineries, and distilleries to open for outdoor table service with up to 6 people per table, even without food orders.
“Our approach continues to focus on expanding outdoor activities as much as possible to create a safer environment than indoors,” city officials said in a statement.
Indoor meals, cafes and food courts can be opened with a capacity of 50% or 200 people, whichever is lower, and tables can accommodate up to 6 people from up to 3 households. Hours of operation can be extended to 11 p.m. and live entertainment including singing and wind or brass instruments is allowed.
Hotels can open restaurants and fitness facilities.
Indoor retail, malls, retail services, laundromats, dry cleaners, banks, auto repairs, personal services, and equipment rentals in San Francisco can also be expanded to 50% capacity. Indoor gyms can be expanded to 25% capacity, including showers and locker rooms, and aerobics group classes can be opened to 25% capacity or up to 100 people.
Museums, zoos, and aquariums in the city can also be 50% full indoors, removing the capacity restrictions for outdoor areas. Indoor cinemas can be opened to either 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is lower, and open seating concessions for groups of up to 6 people from up to 3 households, provided there is a distance between them 6 feet is made up of other spectators.
Offices can be reopened for personal work schedules with up to 25% capacity and 25% capacity in conference and meeting rooms, although the city continues to encourage teleworking where possible. Employers with fewer than 20 employees do not need a capacity limit, but they must reduce the capacity required to maintain a 6-foot separation between workers.
Art, music, and theater performances and festivals organized and supervised outdoors can be open to up to 50 people to maintain social distance between viewers from different households, while food and concessions are for groups of up to 6 people who are at least 6 feet are great, can be allowed apart from others.
San Francisco officials added that under current state guidelines, spectator sports and live entertainment can be reopened to spectators from up to 120 miles away and up to 20% capacity. Starting April 1, the state’s guidelines will be expanded to allow spectator sports and live outdoor entertainment to reopen to a state audience with a capacity of up to 33%.
San Francisco officials said they are “actively working to develop local guidelines that incorporate state guidance on the matter”.