SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) — San Francisco became the first city and county in the Bay Area to adopt Yellow Tier guidance Thursday morning, with bars and other businesses finally getting the opportunity to serve customers indoors.
The state announced its updated tier assignments on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy website late Tuesday morning shortly before noon. San Francisco officials said they plan to expand “almost all activities to 50% indoor capacity,” unless California requires more restrictive capacity limits.READ MORE: 94-Year-Old Asian Woman Stabbed In San Francisco's Tenderloin Neighborhood
The San Francisco Department of Public Health plans to issue its final health and safety guidelines to reopen activities allowed under the yellow tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy Thursday. The relaxed restrictions were effective as of 8 a.m.
But of all the things that are reopening indoors under the Yellow Tier, the one that seems to be top of mind is bars.
They have been shut down since the very beginning. Some are even gone for good.
As of Thursday, bars can open indoors at 25 percent capacity.
San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney credited the hard work of San Francisco residents and their willingness to follow safety protocols.
“So this is a huge landmark and what it reflects is a lot of sacrifices,” said Haney.
When asked if he was concerned that San Francisco could slide back into another lockdown, Haney expressed confidence.
“I think this is safe, you know? We’re still being careful; you know, masks indoors, even at bars, you’re going to have to sit at tables and no still no crowding indoors,” Haney explained. “But what we’re seeing is as we’re reopening, cases are still going down. And a big part of that is the vaccinations. San Francisco has over 50% of our population 16 and over that are fully vaccinated.”
At the Church of 8 Wheels, a popular roller-skating rink in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood, locals excited about the rink’s Yellow Tier reopening showed up at 5:30 a.m. Thursday.
Leyla Norooz caught wind of the early morning reopening and laced up indoors for the first time in more than a year.
“It’s amazing! So good. So smooth!” she said.
Owner David Miles Jr. got through the pandemic by adapting.READ MORE: Bay Area Heat Wave: Cal ISO Issues Flex Alert For Thursday as Temperatures Soar
“We started an online skate store. Started selling skates like crazy,” he said. We’re also involved in building roller rinks for other communities. I don’t let the grass grow under my feet. I gotta get rolling; gotta keep spreading religion every way I can.”
His son David Miles III was equally excited to reopen.
“We finally reached that day. So we’re finally here! Now we can do that every day. It is something that definitely gave us a lot of high hopes of moving forward,” he said.
“We are almost normal. We’re getting close to normal, but we got a ways to go,” said Miles, Jr. “I just hope that we can continue. I don’t want another shutdown, you know? That would be devastating.”
“I’m hanging out with all my friends here. I couldn’t be happier. This is what being part of a community is all about,” enthused skater Jake Zimmerman.
In addition to bars, breweries and wineries being allowed to reopen indoors at 25% capacity, there are other adjustments under the Yellow Tier.
Eight diners are now allowed per table at restaurants. Ice-skating and roller-skating rinks, playgrounds, and family recreation centers like arcades, mini-golf, pool halls and bowling alleys can reopen at 50% capacity, as can public libraries.
Saunas, steam rooms and indoor hot tubs are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity.
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.
On Monday, SF health officials announced that San Francisco would follow the state’s new guidance on masking reflecting recently updated CDC recommendations.
Acting San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip released a statement Monday after a decision by the state to generally align with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) new guidance on masking for fully vaccinated and unvaccinated people.
For the purposes of this guidance, people are considered fully vaccinated for COVID-19 two weeks after they have received the second dose in a two-dose series of Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after they have received a single-dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Currently, individuals 16 and older are eligible to get vaccinated in San Francisco.MORE NEWS: Southwest Struggles with Flight Delays, Cancellations for Third Day
“The CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated, and in some instances unvaccinated, people no longer need to wear masks in certain outdoor settings is fantastic news that reflects the science and data we now have on the efficacy of the vaccines in preventing community spread and driving down case rates and the minimal risk of transmission outdoors,” said Phillip in a statement.