Coronavirus concerns prompt SF to ban ‘non-essential’ gatherings of 100 or more

Mayor Breed calls new restrictions ‘essential’ in order to slow the spread of COVID‑19

San Francisco increased its restriction on gatherings Friday by banning “non-essential” events where 100 or more would gather to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The prohibition comes just days after The City banned large gatherings of more than 1,000 people and later called for cancelling or postponing all events where 250 or more would attend.

In addition to the ban, health officials are now also recommending that organizations that serve vulnerable populations cancel gatherings of more than 10 people.

“This new order is an important measure to support public health,” Mayor London Breed said. “We need everyone to follow the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and the state, and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. We know cancelling events and gatherings is a challenge for everyone, but it is essential that we take this step.”

The order was issued by The City’s Health Officer.

The prohibition applies to events, but not to places like grocery stores, food banks, government services, transit, office space, hotels and residential buildings.

The ban does apply to restaurants. Those dining establishments that can hold between 100 and 500 persons can remain in operation as long as they reduce their occupancy in half up to 100 patrons. If a restaurant has the capacity to serve 150 they are allowed to serve up to 75 people under the new health order.

Dr. Grant Colfax, the director of the Department of Public Health, said that “today’s action builds on our recommendations last week for social distancing, and makes it easier for people to know exactly how they can help reduce the spread of the virus.”

“Because the virus needs people to spread, by reducing the times and places where large groups of people come together, we can effectively slow it down,” Colfax said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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