Officials: S.F. Businesses Should Brace for Purple Tier Rollback — Not if, but When

COVID-19 cases rise toward purple tier in San Francisco

San Francisco remains on track to move out of California’s COVID-19 red zone into the most restrictive purple zone within a matter of days, forcing new rollbacks on businesses and a late night curfew. 

“The city will be required to roll back or reduce capacity of several activities within 24 hours,” said Joaquin Torres, director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, at a press conference Tuesday. He also laid out what will happen next. 

“This will require us to stop the indoor operations of houses of worship, movie theaters, museums, zoos, aquariums, gyms and fitness centers,” he said. “We also need to reduce all retail except grocery stores from 50% to 25% capacity, and we will need to close outdoor Ferris wheels, carousels and amusement-park-style trains.”

Added Torres, “At the same time, within or around 48 hours of being assigned to the purple tier, we’re going to have to comply with the state’s limited stay-at-home order that curtails gatherings and non-essential business activities after 10 p.m.”

Restaurants may continue to offer takeout and delivery services after 10 p.m., but no outdoor dining will be allowed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. 

Joaquin Torres, director of San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development

Torres said the city has no immediate plans for a further lockdown.

“We anticipate that San Francisco will largely confine any rollbacks to those that are required by the state,” he said. “Many restaurants have been reaching out and asking about whether outdoor dining was  potentially something that was being considered as part of purple. The answer is no. We are focused on the limited stay-at-home order, and the restrictions that are listed in the state’s purple tier.”

San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax warned on Friday that the purple tier could have been reached over the weekend, but Tuesday he told reporters that the delay is not a hopeful sign.

“We should take little comfort in the fact that we have not yet been assigned that purple tier,” he said. “We are going pretty much straight up in terms of our number of cases per day per hundred thousand.” 

He added, “Getting the exact day is a little beyond the science data and facts. If you look at our regional map, we are surrounded by purple. So the fact that we’re in red should give nobody reasons for not taking precautions, particularly around the holiday with regard to gatherings and outside of people’s immediate household.”

We Need You

Your financial support makes our work possible. Support independent local journalism by making a donation to become a member of the San Francisco Public Press.

Become a member today!