SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — City officials in San Francisco on Thursday offered their own plans for the initial reopening of some businesses that will not commence for another ten days in the wake of the state announcing new guidelines for Phase 2 reopenings.
While Gov. Gavin Newsom and and Secretary of the California Health and Human Services Dr. Mark Ghaly on Thursday presented the guidelines of the government’s second-phase plan for reopening businesses on May 8, Mayor London N. Breed and the Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax announced the city’s plans to allow those businesses to resume operating with modifications would not begin until Monday, May 18.
That planned date was conditional on San Francisco continuing to make progress on reducing the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release issued by the city. On May 18, retailers such as bookstores, florists and music stores will be the first stores in San Francisco allowed to resume operations with storefront pickup.
San Francisco officials will provide additional details on the phased reopening of those retail business next week. Breed and Dr. Colfax noted that key requirements of the current health order would remain in place, including the requirement to stay at home except for essential needs and certain permitted activities, including outdoor businesses and activities.
Additionally, San Francisco resident must continue to follow social distance requirements and wear face coverings when waiting in line for pickup or inside of businesses.
“We have been hard at work to find ways to reopen more businesses and activities safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Breed. “Giving businesses the option to reopen and provide storefront pickup will provide some relief for everyone in our city — allowing some people to get back to work, while still protecting public health. The last thing we want is to see a spike in the number of cases or hospitalizations, so we’re going to be keeping close track of our key COVID-19 indicators and will be ready to make any adjustment needed to keep our community healthy.”
“San Franciscans have done a tremendous job to flatten the curve and protect community health,” said Dr. Colfax. “We will continue to study the indicators that tell us how the coronavirus is affecting our communities and amend the health orders as warranted in the best interest of community health. We share the urgency to reopen and restore our economies and our normal activities, and the equal importance of doing so in a way that is safe, responsible and does not erode the progress we have made together.”
The first round of businesses that will be allowed to operate with storefront pickup as soon as May 18 include:
- Music and record stores
- Hobby, toy, and game stores
- Home furnishings and home goods
- Cosmetics and beauty supply
- Arts supplies stores
- Musical instrument and supplies stores
- Sewing, needlework, and piece goods stores
The San Francisco Department of Public Health will be developing guidelines for businesses that are consistent with the statewide guidelines.
Business owners like Mario Mogannam of the Postal Chase in West Portal were elated to hear the news.
“Excited. Ready. We are ready to open up. Hearing about the announcements of some businesses opening up for curbside service, because people have to get back to normalcy,” Mogannam told KPIX 5. He thinks small business owners will be excellent stewards of the new regulations like curbside pickups.
“If you have curbside service, people are lined up. They’re outside. They’re taken care of one by one,” he said.
Next door at Mediterranean restaurant Bursa, owner Jihad Abrraid knows he will likely have to cut capacity inside once dine-in is allowed again. He hopes he can hold on.
“It would be very hard to sustain business with about half of the customers we have. Unless the to go business stayed the same,” said Abrraid.
Marin County officials announced later on Thursday that they were also aiming for a May 18 target date for some businesses to reopen.
“In Marin, our goal is to reopen safely and thoughtfully, based on our local experience as the pandemic evolves. The Governor’s announcement that some counties may consider moving forward with curb-side retail activities is promising,” read the statement. “Working in concert with regional health officers, Marin County Public Health recognizes that to take this step safely will require time to prepare. We will not be making new allowances for curb-side retail this week, but will be planning toward an opening of these activities May 18th.”
Marin County officials also noted that the Marin Recovers effort, which was just launched on May 4, is aimed at working with the community and industry leaders to establish safe standards for reopening across all business sectors.
“As the state announces changes in the state stay at home order, we will continue to engage Marin Recovers as a locally-informed, phased approach with local industry and community to ensure the safest path forward,” statement from Marin County officials said.
Additionally, health officers in six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley warned residents Thursday that the regional COVID-19 coronavirus shelter-in-place guidelines will remain in place through at least May 31 despite Newsom’s announced changes to the state’s order.
The joint announcement by health officers stated that Berkeley and Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties will continue to prohibit curbside pick-up at non-essential, non-outdoor businesses.
“We need to continue to work together so those sacrifices don’t go to waste,” the seven jurisdictions said in a joint statement. “It is critical to maintain our gains.”
Andria Borba contributed to this report.