San Francisco, California – San Francisco, arguably the state’s most careful county when it comes to reopening amid COVID-19, is loosening the reins and preparing for a return to normal this summer.
The city and county announced dozens of minor and meaningful changes to its health order, allowing more flexibility for businesses and residents.
We’re breaking down the changes, which go into effect Thursday, sector by sector:
Restaurant guests no longer have to be seated to be served food and drinks. That means standing bar tables and similar arrangements are OK, as long as there’s distance between tables and group sizes are still limited to eight people.
Sushi bars and other table-side food preparation (like at Benihana, for example) is also now allowed at smaller restaurants that can’t keep physical distance between patrons.
Bars no longer have to enforce six feet of distance between parties sitting and drinking at the bar counter. People can also stand and drink around pool tables, arcade games and the like (as long as groups drinking together are limited to eight people).
At social gatherings that are indoors with multiple households, people can now take off their masks to eat and drink. The county still emphasizes this is much safer when everyone in attendance is vaccinated.
Outdoor sports and other live events
People no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination to attend outdoor events like Giants games. They only need to show proof if they want to sit in fully vaccinated sections, which don’t require physical distancing.
Open houses are now allowed as long as they follow guidelines for indoor gatherings.
Indoor places of worship
Houses of worship can create areas for people who are fully vaccinated and do not require physical distancing. Face masks are still required and capacity is still limited to 50%.
Youth and adult sports
Teams are allowed to play more than one game in the same day at tournaments as long as all teams follow the state’s guidelines for collegiate sports. Those guidelines involve regular COVID-19 testing.
Children’s afterschool and recreational programs
There are no more limits on the size of cohorts and parents can now enter the property to pick up their kids, as long as they’re masked.
Personal care services (tattoos, massages, etc.)
Patrons can take off their masks to get their faces pierced, tattooed or massaged.
“San Francisco is looking more and more every day like the vibrant city that it always has been,” said Mayor London Breed in a press release announcing the new rules.
The city explains these changes will help San Francisco ease toward even bigger anticipated changes on June 15. That’s when Gov. Gavin Newsom has said California plans to fully reopen its economy. What exactly that entails is yet to be announced.