Following a 250% spike in coronavirus cases across the city since Oct. 2, San Francisco mayor London Breed announced on Tuesday afternoon that the city will be shutting down all indoor dining starting Friday at midnight for an unspecified length of time, including food courts and restaurants in museums and hotels.
For the foreseeable future, the city will return to outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery only, after initially reopening indoor dining at 25% on September 30.
In the same announcement, Mayor Breed also said that she is pausing the reopening of high schools and will limit capacities at gyms and movie theaters.
“I know this is not the news our residents and businesses wanted to hear, but as I’ve said all along, we’re making decisions based on the data we’re seeing on the ground,” Breed said in a statement. “Right now, our public health officials are telling us we need to take these steps to get the virus under control and save lives – so that’s what we’re doing. The hard decisions we’re making now will help us get our youngest residents back to school. We will continue to act in the best interest of public health and we’ll continue to help our impacted businesses as much as we are able.”
In efforts to help businesses directly impacted by these new restrictions in San Francisco, Mayor Breed has announced the allocation of $4 million to small businesses, including $2.5 million to waiver taxes and fees for small businesses, $500,000 for the Shared Spaces Equity Grants program for small neighborhood-serving businesses, $500,000 for restaurants to purchase equipment and “reconfigure space to meet social distancing requirements” and $500,000 for zero-interest loans for low and middle-income restaurant owners to pay for operating expenses at this time.
“These dedicated funds will focus on those small businesses, restaurants and bars that will be severely impacted by this rollback and offer some supportive relief as we continue our push towards economic recovery,” Joaquín Torres, director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development, said in a statement.
San Francisco has been on the path to shutting restaurant dining back down for over a week. On Oct. 30, Mayor Breed announced that the city was pausing a planned expansion of indoor dining capacities from 25 to 50% as coronavirus cases had been on the rise.
On Monday, Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a press conference that since Oct. 19, the state’s positivity rate has gone up from 2.5% to 3.7%, and as a result, some counties would be going back to more restrictive levels according the state’s color-coded reopening plan, which began allowing indoor dining in limited capacities for certain counties on Aug. 31.
Currently, the California Restaurant Association shows San Francisco county as only in the yellow zone, which technically allows for 50% indoor dining capacity. Other California counties are in the red tier which allows 25% indoor dining, including Sacramento, San Diego, and Orange Counties, while the majority of California’s counties have rolled back to level purple counties which disallows indoor dining of any capacity, including Monterey and Sonoma Counties.
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