Restaurants will soon be allowed to resume offering some indoor dining in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

Limited indoor dining, church services to begin in SF

San Francisco will move ahead Wednesday with indoor dining and church services with limited capacity after the state eased restrictions on The City.

City officials said Tuesday that they will allow restaurants to begin offering indoor dinning for the first time since the shutdown in mid-March and allow for people to congregate in places of worship. In both cases they will be limited to 25 percent of capacity up to 100 people.

The City hadsaid previously that it was going to wait until the state lowered its “red” status to the less restrictive “orange” before allowing for indoor dining. It was classified as orange Tuesday.

The state’s four-tier color coded classification system is based on COVID-19 infection and case rates. Orange is the second least restrictive tier.

“We know this continues to be a challenging time with people struggling economically and emotionally,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement. “However, thanks to San Francisco’s commitment to following public health guidance, we are seeing improvements in our numbers, which means we can continue to move forward with reopening.”

For indoor dining, The City is requiring personnel and patrons to wear face coverings at all times except when the patron is eating or drinking. That includes when ordering and waiting for their order to arrive.

“Doing business indoors couldn’t come at a better time as we approach the colder months, but we must do so safely,” Joaquín Torres, director of Economic and Workforce Development, said in a statement. “Keep your mask on when you are talking, especially to restaurant staff.”

The City has allowed one person inside church at a time, that will expand Wednesday. Face masks are required for indoor church service and no singing or chanting is allowed as this could increase the spread of COVID-19. The City also announced outdoor services are allowed for up to 200 people, as long as there is space for proper social distancing.

Also Tuesday, city officials announced they plan to allow movie theaters to resume operation on Oct. 7 as long as The City remains in the orange status. Movie theaters will be allowed to reopen with 25 percent capacity up to 100 people, but no concessions can be sold.

“We are moving in the right direction,” Supervisor Norman Yee said during Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

Yee said residents were largely heeding the health suggestions to wear face coverings and remain socially distant, helping to slow the spread of COVID-19.

But Yee warned residents to “continue to be vigilant” or cases could start to spike again.

“Just because we have moved into a better position in terms of what kind of businesses that are opened, it doesn’t mean that we can just let down our defense on this,” Yee said.

Since March, San Francisco has diagnosed 11,238 cases of COVID-19 and administered 503,508 tests. Death from the disease totaled 101 as of Tuesday. The City is seeing an average of 51 new cases of COVID-19 per day and 59 people are hospitalized due to the illness.

This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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