San Francisco moves into yellow tier, meaning non-essential offices can reopen

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco is the only Bay Area county that moved into the yellow reopening tier Tuesday, granting a long list of new reopening guidelines.

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Here are the big takeaways:

Starting next Tuesday, non-essential offices can reopen indoors at 25 percent capacity


San Francisco resident Kristen Luetto can't wait.

"I really miss it... I feel like you're constantly in zoom meeting after zoom meeting," Luetto said.

Robert Sammons, a senior researcher for Cushman and Wakefield, expects more than 60 percent of San Francisco companies will have staff physically return to the office.

"There are a lot of tenants that really want and need to get back into the office to have that culture again and have that work relationship that they're missing right now," Sammons said.



Here's what will reopen October 27:



  • Indoor climbing and fitness gyms will be allowed to reopen at 25 percent capacity. This does not include cardio and aerobic classes. Plus, face masks are required.
  • Personal care services like spas and massage parlors providing waxing and skin treatments can reopen at 25 percent capacity.
  • Colleges and other institutions providing higher education can increase capacity of outdoor classes to 25 people.




The following list can expand capacity indoors to 50 percent on November 3:


  • Restaurants
  • Shopping Centers
  • Movie Theaters
  • Places of worship
  • Museums (including zoos & aquariums)


Laurie Thomas with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association says the timing is spot on.

"Daylight savings time ends on November 1, it's going to be super cold and super dark early... so this is perfect timing to allow restaurants to take advantage as safely as possible," said Thomas.

Here's what will be reopening November 3:



  • Indoor pools
  • Indoor bowling alleys




City health officials say the goal is to have bars (not serving food) reopen by mid-November.

"We don't know what the guidelines are going to be yet for the outside bars," Thomas said. "I would imagine face masks will have to be worn."

According to city health officials, San Francisco was allowed to move into this yellow status due to falling COVID cases and a test positivity rate reported under one percent. Mayor London Breed told ABC7 the other reason was San Francisco met the state's equity metric.

San Francisco Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the department will be regularly tracking new COVID cases and hospitalizations. It is possible reopening guidelines will change depending on those factors.

VIDEO: Local businesses react to San Francisco moving into yellow reopening tier
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It's been 7 months since the Phoenix Irish Bar in San Francisco last opened but this week, they are hopeful.



It's been 7 months since the Phoenix Irish Bar last opened but this week, they are hopeful.

"I was surprised because it came faster than what I thought. I thought we were looking at December because San Francisco tends to stay a step or two behind the state," said Eugene Power, owner of The Phoenix Irish Bar

Next week fitness centers are also allowed to go up to 25% capacity indoors but not everyone is moving that fast.

"We are probably going to about 18% not that full 25% because customers feel more comfortable that way," said Dave Karraker, co-owner of MX3 Fitness

MX3 Fitness will continue to offer outdoor workouts which Karraker says have become more popular during the pandemic.

"When it comes to fitness if you are doing a high energy exercise you want people 12 feet apart not 6 feet apart," said Karraker.

The city also released this statement on reopening schools in San Francisco:

"As state and local COVID-19 indicators permit, San Francisco schools may now resume in-person learning with approved safety plans in place. San Francisco's approach to the reopening process for San Francisco TK-12 schools (transitional kindergarten through 12th grade) prioritizes the reopening of younger grades for in-person learning. As many as 114 private, parochial or charters schools have requested applications for in-person learning this fall. Almost 92 schools have submitted applications and 56 schools have been approved for reopening. The applications are being reviewed on a rolling basis."
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