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Outdoor Dining, Salons, and More to Reopen


Literally overnight, California’s long winter stay-at-home order has come to an end. Citing favorable projections for ICU capacity around the state, Governor Gavin Newsom lifted the order that shuttered nearly every business and activity, and reinstated the color-coded reopening plan from the fall.

With the city back in purple tier, San Francisco Mayor London Breed has announced that outdoor dining, personal services like barbers and tattoo parlors, and indoor personal training can resume on Thursday, Jan. 28.

“Just keep in mind, this is not an open door to let our hair down and do whatever it is we want to do,” Mayor London Breed said at a press conference on Monday. “Let’s keep doing what we’re doing. Let’s keep being smart about wearing our masks and who we interact with.”

The new rules will also allow the San Francisco Zoo and other outdoor activities like miniature golf to resume. Outdoor gatherings with members of up to three households (maximum 12 people) are now technically permitted. Grocery stores, retail stores, outdoor gyms and other businesses and activities will be allowed to increase their capacity.

Restaurants in Marin, Sonoma, Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, and Santa Clara counties are permitted to open for outdoor dining immediately.

These changes come as San Francisco ramps up its vaccine capacity. The first of three planned mass vaccination sites, at City College, is now up and running. Healthcare providers in the city have received 127,000 doses, and administered 59,000, according to DPH director Dr. Grant Colfax. Still, the city has far fewer doses than it needs, with supply on pace to run out as soon as next Wednesday.

While COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have been declining in San Francisco, both figures are still close to all-time highs. The public health situation is far worse in Southern California and in the Central Valley, where ICU capacity remains at 0 percent. However, official projections suggest that in four weeks, ICU capacity in every region of the state will be back in the double digits.

Newsom’s abrupt policy change comes as the governor faces a recall effort, powered in large part by people opposed to the state’s strict COVID-19 restrictions.

Benjamin Schneider

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