As Businesses Re-open, Mask Requirements Expand


Mayor London Breed. Screen capture from SFGovTV

The shelter-in-place order that has directed San Francisco residents to stay home except to conduct essential business will be in effect indefinitely, though certain previously restricted businesses will soon be allowed to re-open. Meanwhile, the city’s mask order will be expanded, now requiring everyone to cover their noses and mouths within 30 feet of another person.

The good news, Mayor London Breed said, is that the city’s stable or falling number of hospitalizations and deaths, along with increased testing capacity and personal protective equipment means the city will continue to loosen restrictions on businesses.

“The only reason why we are in this situation in the first place, is because most San Franciscans took the order seriously, and you’ve done an amazing job complying with this order,” Breed said.

As of June 1, childcare centers may re-open. Outdoor museums and sites like the Botanical Gardens may re-open on that date as well. On June 15, most indoor retail will be allowed to resume, along with outdoor dining, summer camps and indoor services like housekeeping and nannying. Religious ceremonies, outdoor exercise classes and non-emergency medical appointments may also resume on that date. That timeline, the mayor said, is subject to change if the infection and hospitalization numbers change.

No date has been set for the re-opening of bars, nail salons, massage parlors, tattoo parlors, gyms and fitness centers.

Asked how Tenderloin businesses should go about re-opening with many of the neighborhood’s sidewalks blocked by tents, Breed described the situation as “challenging” but touted the city’s response to homelessness during the pandemic and said homeless people had been given hotel rooms and offered a chance to move to sanctioned encampments, or “safe sleeping” spaces.

“It continues to be a real challenge and we’ll do everything we can to continue to move in that direction, to provide safe sleeping sites as we go through this pandemic,” she said.

Other issues discussed at the press briefing:

  • Breed commented on the state-issued guidelines for re-opening, saying every county faces different circumstances [8:04]. Prompted for further comment on whether the state guidance moves toward re-opening too quickly, she called the state guidance appropriate [27:18].
  • Breed outlined the dates for different phases of re-opening and gave examples of which businesses could resume operations [9:12]
  • Breed said that as a result of having more people moving around outside, the mask requirements would now be extended to include a mandate that residents cover their noses and mouths within 30 feet of someone else [12:38].
  • Breed said the city’s shelter-in-place health order has been extended indefinitely [15:59].
  • Carmen Chu, San Francisco’s Assessor-Recorder, said the city’s new economic recovery plan focuses on re-opening and supporting the hardest-hit sectors [21:57]

A segment from our radio show, “Civic.” Listen daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. on 102.5 FM in San Francisco.