SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – As California looks to fully reopen the economy next month, health officials in San Francisco are further loosening COVID-19 restrictions on Thursday.
“San Francisco is looking more and more every day like the vibrant city that it always has been,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “We have shown the world how resilient we are, and now we’re on the road to recovery.”READ MORE: Gas Leak In San Francisco's Inner Richmond Prompts Shelter-In-Place, Evacuations
According to a city statement, health orders will be updated to allow for a broader range of activities in multiple sectors including indoor dining and bars, houses of worship, personal services, real estate, rec sports and afterschool programs. Restrictions on small indoor gatherings and live events will also be eased.
Under the new rules, businesses are no longer required to perform health screenings for all personnel and patrons, unless required from the state. Businesses also no longer need to submit a health and safety plan to create a fully vaccinated section, but are still required to submit plans related to the size of events.
A full list of reopening guidelines will be posted Thursday on the city’s website, officials said.
City officials credited the ongoing vaccination effort in bringing COVID-19 cases to the lowest levels seen during the pandemic. San Francisco’s 7-day case rate is down to 18, far below the peak of 373 seen in early January.
As of May 19, 76% of eligible San Francisco residents have been vaccinated, one of the highest vaccination rates in the country and possibly the world.READ MORE: Newsom Signs Executive Order On Workplace Pandemic, Mask Rules Following Cal/OSHA Vote
“Currently, our economy is more open, and we are interacting more with each other than we were when we entered our third surge this past winter. But instead of surging again and going into another lock down, our case rates and hospitalizations continue to fall,” said public health director Dr. Grant Colfax. “That is the power of the vaccines at work in our city.”
Among the changes, outdoor live events no longer need proof of testing or vaccination for admission except for fully vaccinated sections. The San Francisco Giants are already implementing the change for upcoming games.
Also at such events, people from up to three households may sit together in a ticketed pod of up to six people, up from one household.
For bars and restaurants, patrons are no longer being required to sit at tables to consume food or beverages and distancing requirements are being relaxed at bar counters.
Officials said houses of worship can establish fully vaccinated sections that do not require distancing, but 50% capacity and face covering requirements remain in the meantime.
Health officer Dr. Susan Philip was optimistic about the state’s goal to reopen on June 15.MORE NEWS: Bay Area, NorCal Heatwave May Break Records; 'Potentially Life-Threating' Central Valley Temps
“I’m delighted to say that we are in the homestretch of our reopening,” Philip said. “Our diligence meant that we had the lowest death rate for a city of our density in the country. We now get to enjoy the fruits of our efforts with further loosening of our health restrictions.”