Starting on Sept. 1, many gyms, hair salons and barber shops in San Francisco will be allowed to serve customers if they can find a way to do so outdoors.
Mayor London Breed said that it’s important to allow as many small businesses as possible to reopen after many have been shuttered for the last six months. “We are hopeful that as we see the number and the changes continue that we will be able to allow more.” She said some similar businesses will have to remain closed for now. “Unfortunately facials and tattoo places and things like that, we’re going to have to put a pause on.”
City Assessor/Recorder Carmen Chu said a large number of businesses want the option to see customers outside their shops. “So far, over 1,000 businesses have applied to use outdoor spaces through the shared spaces program. We hope that this program will allow for more and more businesses to take advantage of this opportunity. We know that the coming months will be the warmest where outdoor operations could actually be impactful for businesses.”
The announcement came on a day when smoke from the numerous wildfires in the Bay Area made it unhealthy to be outdoors, something Breed and city health officials acknowledged will be an ongoing problem.
Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the Department of Public Health said the number of new COVID-19 cases is still too high. “We are seeing about 75 new cases every day. That number has been coming down in recent weeks, but it remains in the red zone. And I want to take a moment here to make a key point with regard to our cases in San Francisco. Over half of our COVID-19 cases continue to be diagnosed in the Latinx community.”
He said the city is diverting more resources to tackle the problem. “The department will soon be establishing a $5 million grant program to help community based organizations expand community health worker teams, outreach and education. We will continue to expand case investigation and contact tracing teams with over 300 trained individuals, ensuring that at least half the team is fluent in Spanish. We will continue to expand access to testing for the Latinx community.”
He added, “This means expanding testing sites to new venues, such as transportation hubs, making the testing barrier lower and ensuring wraparound services are seamlessly coordinated to support people if they test positive and need isolation and quarantine support.”