San Francisco Allows Indoor Concerts, Performances and Gatherings

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San Francisco is set to announce guidelines for indoor events, starting April 15.
San Francisco is set to announce guidelines for indoor events, starting April 15. (iStock)

A return to indoor live events has come sooner than previously expected for San Francisco residents. Today, San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax and Mayor London Breed issued official guidelines to allow indoor live events, both public and private, to return with some limited capacity starting Thursday, April 15.

According to Mayor Breed's office, indoor ticketed and seated events will be allowed to operate at a maximum capacity of 35%, with attendees required to show proof of a negative COVID test or vaccination for entry. All participants must keep their masks on except when eating and drinking while seated, and social distancing will be required according to state guidelines. Venues operating at up to 35% capacity must also have an approved Health and Safety Plan.

Should a venue choose to operate at only 15% capacity or with less with 200 people, proof of a negative test or vaccination, as well as a Health and Safety Plan, will not be required. As for private indoor events like conventions, weddings and meetings, up to 150 attendees will be allowed with proof of vaccine or negative COVID test.

Outdoor venues will be allowed to expand capacity for live events and performances up to 50%. "Like indoor venues, outdoor venues may create vaccinated-only sections with relaxed distancing restrictions, subject to specified criteria and an approved health and safety plan," the city's statement reads.

Live music fans may have to wait a little longer than April 15 to return to their favorite concerts, however, as many music venues do not plan to host events and concerts until the late summer or fall, when they will be able to reopen at full capacity. Other performers, many of whom have been unable to rehearse together due to COVID, will need time to develop their productions, and venues that have been closed since the beginning of the pandemic need time to navigate complex financial and logistical circumstances posed by ever-changing guidelines and plans.

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“We know that much of what makes San Francisco special are the live performances and events,” said Mayor Breed. “We’ve all been missing these events over the last year… but we all need to keep doing our part to put safety first.”

San Francisco is also expanding capacity for social gatherings, both indoor and outdoor, as well as guidelines for "drive-ins, tour operators, childcare, sports and recreation, and institutes of higher education."

San Francisco’s relatively low COVID-19 caseload and hospitalization rates have remained stable since early March 2021, and if cases go up, officials will reevaluate the new guidelines. Currently over 50% of San Francisco residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Starting next Thursday, Apr. 15, the city plans to allow general access to the vaccine to anyone over the age of 16.

San Francisco’s public health guidelines can be found here.

This article was originally published on April 9; it has been updated.