People gather inside painted circles on the grass meant to encourage social distancing at Dolores Park in San Francisco on May 22, 2020. Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images
People gather inside painted circles on the grass meant to encourage social distancing at Dolores Park in San Francisco on May 22, 2020. (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)

San Francisco Reopening: Officials Announce Gradual Plan

San Francisco Reopening: Officials Announce Gradual Plan

San Francisco residents can expect to resume eating outdoors at restaurants, shopping indoors at most retail stores and attending religious services, among other activities, beginning on June 15.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed announced on Thursday the first steps in a timeline to slowly reopen the city in stages over the coming months, as long as the city continues to make progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

At an afternoon press conference Breed said the opening of businesses and services will hinge on if the area is still making progress in the five indicators for reopening, including flattening hospitalizations and providing a significant level of daily testing.

City Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu said the roadmap provides "an idea of what's coming next so we can plan and prepare." Chu also said the city's plan will consider the limitations and directions provided by the state, and could change depending on state guidance and continued learning about COVID-19.

The reopening plan divides the state's Stage 2 guidelines into three subsections, allowing for a gradual reopening timeline.

  • Phase 2A, opening June 1: Child care, botanical gardens, outdoor museums and historical sites, and outdoor curbside retail for services with minimal contact
  • Phase 2B, opening June 15: Most indoor retail, outdoor dining, summer camps, private household indoor services, religious services and ceremonies, outdoor exercise classes, non-emergency medical appointments
  • Phase 2C, opening July 13: Indoor dining with modifications, hair salons and barbershops, real estate open houses — by appointment only

The third phase — which includes the reopening of schools, indoor fitness centers, bars and tattoo shops — is scheduled for mid-August, though the exact rollout is still being determined. The opening of other events that involve high social contact, like concerts and festivals, will be assessed at a date to be determined.

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The new timeline also comes with a strengthening of the city's mask ordinance. Starting May 29, the city will require that residents wear face coverings on "most occasions when they leave their home and are near other people," according to a press release.

"It's not necessarily just about protecting yourself, it's about protecting other people," Breed said.

The mayor also confirmed that businesses in the city will be allowed to refuse service to customers who are not wearing a mask.

While Breed called the new regulations a "great step forward," she also cautioned that the city could roll back these provisions if cases start to increase.

"The last thing we want to do is begin the process of reopening, see a surge of cases, and then have to go back to closing the city completely," Breed said. "We're in a good place ... because you continue to follow the guidelines."

Breed said the city and county will continue to work with other Bay Area counties, but need to do "what's in the best interest of San Franciscans."

The city’s current stay-at-home health order has been extended indefinitely, Breed said, and will be amended over the coming weeks to allow for the gradual reopening of certain spaces.