Bars will be able to reopen at 25 percent capacity on Thursday, a day earlier than initially expected. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>

Bars will be able to reopen at 25 percent capacity on Thursday, a day earlier than initially expected. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Bars to reopen Thursday as SF moves into yellow tier

San Francisco moved Tuesday into the state’s least restrictive COVID-19 yellow tier, and city officials announced they will allow indoor bars to reopen Thursday and increase most indoor activities to half their capacity.

The moment comes as new COVID-19 cases have dropped to an average of 26 new daily cases, the lowest since June 2020, and as the number of people 16 and older who have received at least their first dose of the vaccine has reached 72 percent.

Mayor London Breed called the yellow tier achievement an “incredible milestone.”

“The Yellow Tier means that no longer are there any businesses that are required to keep their doors shut in this city, and it means we are continuing to allow more activities to be done safely with more people,” Breed said in a statement.

She encouraged everyone to continue to get their shots and said she was hopeful the federal government would approve the administration of the vaccine next week to those who are age 12 and over.

The new rules allowed under the yellow tier will go into effect on Thursday, one day earlier than was previously announced last week.

City officials said bars can reopen for indoor service for the first time in more than a year at up to 25 percent capacity, with a maximum of 100 people. Patrons must be seated at tables at tables of up to eight people to drink.

The City is also allowing the reopening of indoor ice and roller skating, arcades and golf at up to 50 percent capacity.

Other changes include expanding bowling alley and pool hall capacity to 50 percent and removing vaccination and testing requirements. Offices can increase capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent, but vaccinated employees do not count toward the capacity limit.

Restaurants will no longer have a three households per table limit for indoor dining. A 50 percent capacity limit will remain in place, but the cap of 200 patrons will be lifted.

Face coverings are no longer required for outdoor dining once people are seated.

Indoor music venues can increase capacity from 35 percent to 50 percent.

As San Francisco advances in its reopening and celebrates the downward trend of cases, health officials are also mindful of other areas in the country and the world seeing surges due to more contagious variants and low vaccination rates.

“We are making great progress to continue on this trajectory,” Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said in a statement. “Our optimism is tempered by the rollbacks happening right now in Oregon and Washington as a result of the decline in vaccination rates, variants and reopening activities. We must stay vigilant and get vaccination rates even higher to prevent COVID from spreading in San Francisco.”

Los Angeles and Trinity counties also moved into the state’s yellow tier Tuesday, bringing the total to seven. There remain 39 counties in the state’s second restrictive orange tier and 12 in the second most restrictive red tier.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has set a goal of eliminating the need for all tier restrictions by June 15.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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