San Francisco to Impose New Lockdown on Sunday Night

Steve Rhodes/San Francisco Public Press

A sign in the window of a 14 Mission bus asks riders to board through the rear door to keep social distance from the driver.

San Francisco joined four other Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley on Friday afternoon to announce a new lockdown ahead of a state mandate to preserve intensive care unit beds. 

Mayor London Breed said the city has enough spare intensive care beds and could have waited longer. “If we wait one or two more weeks to have these restrictions placed on us, it will just mean our numbers will be higher and harder to bring down.”

Starting on Sunday at 10 p.m., San Francisco, Santa Clara and Contra Costa counties will implement their new stay at home orders. Alameda county and Berkeley will follow on Monday, with Marin County doing so Tuesday. The orders will remain in place until Jan. 4, but could be extended.

  • All indoor and outdoor dining will be suspended, but take out and delivery can continue. 
  • Retail spaces can remain open, but only at 20% capacity with strict metering to limit the number of people inside. 
  • Gyms, salons, barber shops and similar services both indoors and outdoors will be suspended. 
  • Outdoor playgrounds, zoos, skate parks and the like will also be closed. 
  • Schools that are already open can remain open. Those that are certified to open will be allowed to do so. 

Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said there is no time to lose. “We have a window. But we estimate that we have about one week left to try and stabilize the current flow of COVID-19 patients,”  he said. “San Francisco’s COVID-19 hospitalizations have increased by 35%. If we allow the virus to keep spreading at this pace, we estimate across our nine-hospital system we will run out of intensive care unit beds on Dec. 26. By Jan. 4, there will be approximately 200 sick people in San Francisco in need of a hospital bed. And if things continue on this trajectory, by Feb. 4, there could be 1,600 people in San Francisco in need of a hospital bed.”

He said San Francisco will get approximately 12,000 doses of vaccine in the next two weeks, but they will be limited to high-risk people. “California is making sure that these first supplies are provided to those in direct risk of exposure due to their jobs in health care, and long term facilities, including nursing homes. This includes clinical and non-clinical employees from the doctors and nurses to the food delivery staff, and janitorial staff.” It will be months before the general population can be inoculated. 

Breed called on San Franciscans to brave the latest storm with the hope of obtaining vaccines in the coming months. “This is perhaps the final test we face as a city in this pandemic. And we need to do everything we can to make sure we don’t face unnecessary tragedy right before this is over.”

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