City officials are closing indoor restaurant dining in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>

City officials are closing indoor restaurant dining in an effort to control the spread of coronavirus. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Indoor dining shut down as SF rolls back reopening amid COVID-19 spike

Latest increase climbing at faster rate than previous summer surge

A spike in COVID-19 cases has prompted San Francisco to shut down indoor dining and roll back other reopening plans, Mayor London Breed announced Tuesday.

The increasing trend is particularly alarming since cases are rising at a faster rate than was seen during the previous surge of cases in the summer, city officials said.

“We are seeing an uptick,” Breed said at a virtual press conference. “It has forced our city to make some very hard decisions.”

Struggling restaurants were permitted to start serving indoors at 25 percent capacity on Sept. 30, but plans to allow them to serve at 50 percent capacity were put on hold late last month as cases continued to rise in San Francisco.

Now, indoor dining must cease altogether, effective 11:59 p.m. on Friday.

Gyms and movie theaters can remain open but they must reduce their capacity to the lesser of 25 percent of capacity or 50 people, a decrease from 100.

The City will also not allow additional high schools to reopen for in-person learning, but those that have can continue to operate.

Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association, said that “limited indoor dining represented the only real hope for many restaurants to survive the next three months.”

“We are very disappointed,” she said in a statement, warning of more restaurant closures and “significant job losses.”

While Breed has paused reopening plans in the past, this is the first time she has had to “roll back some of the gains that we have made.”

Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said The City has to take these steps to mitigate the spread of the virus, which is surging again.

“We are averaging nearly 80 new cases a day now,” Colfax said, “up from just 32 new cases at the end of October.”

The surge in cases is a trend seen in other Bay Area counties and in California. California saw a 29% increase in new cases over the last week.

Colfax said San Francisco’s fall surge began on Oct. 21 and cases are increasing at a higher rate than the previous surge The City experienced in the summer.

“This suggests if we do not turn this around our fall surge will exceed our summer surge,” Colfax said. “If we do not pause and if we do not reverse, it is entirely plausible that we will face a situation where our health care system could become overwhelmed.”

Colfax and Breed said they will monitor the data and further restrictions may be needed. They called on residents to not get complacent but to continue to follow the health guidelines to wear masks and socially distance.

“We want to do everything we can to avoid reinstating a shelter-in-place order that would unfortunately shut our city down for the holidays,” Colfax said.

Since March, San Francisco has had 13,139 COVID-19 diagnosed cases out of 738,404 tests and 151 coronavirus deaths.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCoronavirussan francisco news

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Cities including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are calling for large grocery and drug store chains to pay employees hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)
SF proposes $5 hazard pay law for grocery, drug store workers

San Francisco may soon join the growing number of cities requiring large… Continue reading

Hikers walk along a closed stretch of Twin Peaks Boulevard on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board to vote on future of Twin Peaks Boulevard

The proposal would keep Burnett Avenue gate closed to vehicles, open Portola Drive

Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Klein collects crayons from students in the classroom at Lupine Hill Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Calabasas, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools

Taryn Luna and John Myers Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom and… Continue reading

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

City supervisors are calling for an expansion of free summer programs for elementary age kids. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Supervisors urge city to provide free summer programs for all SFUSD students

San Francisco supervisors on Monday announced a proposal to expand summer programs… Continue reading

Most Read