SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officials in San Francisco on Monday were able to mark the reopening of City Hall for the first time in over a year with another momentous occasion: the raising of the Pride flag to celebrate the annual LGBTQ Pride Month Kickoff.
For the first time in 15 months since the March 2020 COVID shutdown, most San Francisco City Hall offices opened for full services Monday.READ MORE: Sonoma Enacts Mandatory 20% Water Use Reduction, Limits Irrigation to 2 Days a Week
Starting at 8 a.m., The doors opened and the metal detectors were activated as city offices opened for residents looking to get marriage license applications, birth and death certificates, document records, business registrations and more.
Visitors are required to wear masks and stay six feet apart to follow City Hall’s pandemic protocols. Workers must also have health screening before entering.
City leaders said it has been a long time coming.
“What we have been doing is that San Francisco’s city government has been providing a lot of services by phone or online, but we also know that during COVID not everybody has had the opportunity to either have internet access or have a lot of funding to be able to do so,” said City Administrator Carmen Chu. “So when we thought about reopening City Hall, it really was a priority, not only because symbolically it’s a seat of government, but also because it’s a way for people to actually come in and get the services they need.”
Monday also found Mayor London Breed presiding over the annual raising of the rainbow Pride flag over City Hall in honor San Francisco’s ongoing commitment to LGBTQ rights and equality.
The event that was open for in-person attendance and also streamed online honored this year’s SF Pride grand marshals and included remarks by LGBTQ elected officials and community leaders including State Senator Scott Wiener, Supervisor Rafael Mandelman and Treasurer Jose Cisneros.
“After a long year for our City, we are honored to commemorate the 51st Pride Month celebration in San Francisco, which embodies the strength of the LGBTQ community and our City’s commitment to LGBTQ rights and equality,” Mayor Breed said in a release. “The day also marks the first day that we are opening the doors to City Hall to public services that had been offered remotely during the pandemic. This is a great day to celebrate both our pride for our City and for the LGBTQ community.”READ MORE: Wildfires Continue To Burn Along State’s Coast, Sierra; Endangers Buddhist Monastery
Under the City Hall Rotunda, Breed officiated four weddings.
Standing under the rotunda on City Hall’s grand staircase, Mayor London Breed re-introduced a classic San Francisco tradition that had been put on pandemic pause – weddings.
For Richmond couple Madelyn and Indira Carmona, who met working on the border in El Paso, Monday was the culmination of a dream put on hold.
“We’ve been waiting a year and a half for this moment, so it’s very, very special,” said Indira Carmona.
Western Addition couple Hanna Teferi and Casey Blanton were supposed to get married in October 2020. “It’s exciting and it’s great to have it back. I know a lot of folks have waited to be able to do it in person, so to be able to do it here today it was really fun,” Hanna told KPIX 5.
Breed said marrying couples is one of her favorite duties as mayor and Mondaywas about returning that tradition to a room that sat silent for a year and a half.
“The love was in the air, it felt so good to be here today, so I was filling city hall with love, how about that?” the mayor said.MORE NEWS: Suspect In Brutal Berkeley Home Invasion, Attempted Rape Identified As Santa Rita Jail Inmate
Although Pride Month is once again taking on a different look this year due to the pandemic, there are still a number of online and in-person events celebrating LGBTQ history and the community. A listing of SF Pride events is available on the SF city government website and on the official San Francisco Pride website.