San Francisco’s new plan for reopening, unveiled on Tuesday by Mayor London Breed, provides a timeline that may allow many schools and businesses to reopen under certain guidelines.
The timeline follows Friday’s announcement of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s revised state watchlist, which since July barred many San Francisco businesses from operating. The plan allows some businesses and facilities, such as outdoor personal services, indoor malls and funeral homes, to immediately open at a limited capacity, according to a press release by the Office of the Mayor.
“We remain committed to making decisions based on data and our local conditions with COVID-19, and our next steps take a balanced and thoughtful approach to reopening,” Breed said in a statement. “We all need to do our part to reopen while keeping our community safe, so remember to cover your face, keep your distance, and wash your hands regularly.”
Newsom’s updated watchlist places the city in the red tier of a new color-coded system. The classification indicates the city is still experiencing “substantial” spread of the virus, amounting to four to seven new cases per 100,000 people daily, but eases constraints on many outdoor and indoor businesses.
The city has reserved the ability to slow or halt the pace at which it reopens, independent from state guidelines. The mayor’s plan entails working with local public health officials to implement a plan based on the “unique challenges and successes” San Francisco is faced with.
Reopening is dependent on whether the city’s health indicators remain stable or improve, and the current plan is subject to change, according to the release.
“We will continue our deliberate and gradual reopening as it allows us to monitor the spread, manage its immediate challenges and mitigate the long term impact on our city. Our reopening pace will be informed by our ability to manage the risk of more activity that may result in more cases and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health, in a statement.
Breed’s announcement outlines a goal to return to classroom learning for Transitional Kindergarten through sixth grade by mid-September, middle schools by October and high schools by November, all with approved health and safety plans. The plan also includes aspirations to allow small, special outdoor gatherings –– such as election campaigns –– with a maximum of 12 people.
“Time and again, San Franciscans have risen to the challenge to slow the spread of COVID-19,” Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, co-chair of the San Francisco Economic Recovery Task Force, said in a statement. “That collective action is what has allowed us to be here today. Reflected in comments we’ve heard from hundreds of people through the Economic Recovery Task Force, this announcement is important because it shows the path forward for so many industries and businesses that have been shuttered for months.”