S.F. Hotels, Museums and Some Schools Could Reopen this Month


San Francisco Mayor London Breed

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said the city may soon be able to reopen more businesses and even some schools, but only if the Labor Day holiday doesn’t cause a spike in cases. 

“I know everybody is thinking, well, this is a time I miss my family, it’s been six months, here’s an opportunity for us to get together,” she said at a news conference Tuesday. “That is highly discouraged.” She added that, “It is so important that we remember that in those family and friendly gatherings, that’s where we are seeing the spread happen.”

Today, the city allowed hair stylists and barbers to offer their services outdoors and on Sept. 9, gyms will be able to do the same. Breed said that if people continue to follow social distancing and wear masks over the holiday, it may be possible to reopen more indoor venues this month. 

“The good news is starting mid September, hotels for tourism and visitors, outdoor movie theaters and our other outdoor family entertainment like mini golf, outdoor tour buses and boats, indoor museums, zoos and aquariums — with approved safety plans — and houses of worship, will be able to allow individual prayers and outdoor services for up to 50 people. We’ll be able to provide the specific date once we’re in touch with those various businesses with the appropriate guidelines.”

Breed said that the city is working with the San Francisco Unified School District and private schools in hopes that some school children may also be able to gather in small groups. “Starting in mid September, we’ll have community learning hubs K through six schools that have submitted a health and safety plan through the waiver process will be able to open.” In a statement after the press conference, Breed’s office said that the goal is to open middle schools in October and high schools in November. 

Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said it will be some time before city playgrounds can reopen. “Playgrounds are a mostly uncontrolled environment,” Colfax said. “With lots of children, mixing different ages interacting with lots of different families, so that does increase the risk of transmission. At this time, we do not have a specific date for reopening playgrounds. But our health officer and our pediatric team are looking at the data and that is something that we would like to do as soon as it is safer to do so.”

Other updates from the press conference:

  • Colfax said the rate of new infections remains in the red zone with 75 new cases a day, even as hospitalization rates remain in the green zone. (19:19)
  • Breed said the city has made progress in finding alternatives for unhoused people in encampments in the Tenderloin and other neighborhoods. (35:51)
  • She said despite efforts to help the homeless, conditions in the Tenderloin remain “horrible.” She vowed to combat rampant drug dealing and use in the neighborhood. (39:18)

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