SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Health officials in San Francisco on Friday announced that it appeared likely the city would move into the state’s least restrictive Yellow Tier next week.
Officials said that the anticipated assignment to the Yellow Tier next Tuesday would allow the city to further ease COVID restrictions effective on Friday, May 7.READ MORE: Farms, Ranches In Southern Santa Clara County Grapple With Worsening Drought
The San Francisco Department of Public Health tweeted the good news Friday afternoon at around 3:30 p.m. The initial tweet of the thread said that over the past four weeks, the number of new COVID-19 cases has remained consistently low, hovering at the threshold between the Orange and Yellow tier.
San Francisco’s COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations fell steadily from mid-January to early March. For the last four weeks, new COVID-19 cases have remained consistently low and hovered at the threshold between the Orange and Yellow tier. (1/3)
— SFDPH (@SF_DPH) April 30, 2021
“On Tuesday, April 27 the California Department of Public Health assessed San Francisco as meeting the criteria for the Yellow Tier,” officials said. “If our health indicators continue to meet the requirements for the Yellow Tier, the State will assign us to the Yellow Tier on Tuesday, May 4.”
While health officials haven’t announced details, in accordance with past moves to less restrictive tiers, San Francisco residents will be able to enjoy relaxed safety protocols with businesses expanding capacity in a number of sectors.
“It’s looking pretty rosy,” said Dr. Robert Wachter, professor and chair of the UCSF Department of Medicine.
If the city follows state guidelines, restaurants, movie theaters, libraries, offices, churches, family entertainment centers and gyms and fitness studios will be able to open indoors at 50% capacity. Indoor bars, breweries and wineries will be allowed to open at 25% capacity up to 100 people.READ MORE: 5 Boats Burn, 4 Destroyed in the Delta Near Bethel Island
“It feels really exciting,” said Jayson Wilde who manages Pagan Idol, a bar in the Financial District. “Obviously we are taking our precautions and feeling as safe as possible. Next Friday means 25% without food.”
Wilde said his staff is prepared to focus on the core business of making tiki drinks after a year of pivots. “We’ve gotta go full bore and open the entire menu, do everything like we’ve done before but just with, like, a restricted amount of people we have in here.”
Outdoor gatherings can include as many as 100 people and outdoor live audience venues may expand to 67% of capacity, according to published state guidelines. San Francisco has largely adhered to state guidance in previous COVID tier moves.
Dr. Wachter says the vaccination numbers in the city are the cause for optimism, with 47 percent of San Franciscans age 16 and older fully vaccinated.
“California is doing about the same as the United States, San Francisco is doing almost the same as Israel. When we talk about A-plus students when it comes to vaccinations, San Francisco is outpacing both the United States and California by 50%.”
The state announces its updated tier assignments on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy website late Tuesday morning every week.
While much of the Bay Area has been in the Orange Tier for several weeks — save for Solano County, which remained in the Red Tier as of April 27 — no counties in the region have managed to make the move to the Yellow Tier so far.
California officials announced just under a month ago that — based on vaccine distribution and a continuing decline in new hospitalizations — all COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted statewide on June 15.MORE NEWS: COVID: Service Industry Employers Lament Lack of People Willing to Fill Open Jobs
© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. KPIX correspondent Andria Borba contributed to this report