(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF shuts down non-essential offices after state reimposes tougher COVID-19 restrictions

Coronavirus increasing at record rates, pushing dozens of counties into more restrictive categories

San Francisco jumped Monday from the least restrictive COVID-19 state tier to the second highest, joining some 40 counties moving backwards as cases increase at record rates statewide.

In response, Mayor London Breed announced The City will roll back its reopening further than last week, when The City shut down indoor dining.

Non-essential offices can no longer remain re-opened. Those offices will have to return to remote working.

Fitness centers, like gyms and climbing walls, will have to reduce capacity from 25 percent to 10 percent capacity.

The new restrictions go into effect Tuesday.

The tougher restrictions for dozens of counties come as California has seen its daily cases double in the past 10 days. There were 9,890 newly diagnosed cases reported Monday and the state has a 4.6 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days.

“This is simply the fastest increase California has seen since the beginning of this pandemic,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said during a Monday press conference.

“We are now moving backwards not forwards,” he said.

The state was updating the tier status of counties every Tuesday and making decisions on trends over a two week period. The status updates are expected to come more often and be based on a county’s one week trend in cases and positivity rates.

Counties also have to impose the new restrictions called for in the tiers within 24 hours, down from the 72 hours previously required.

Newsom also announced he was considering a curfew for the state. He said he was looking at studies of how curfews have worked in places like Germany and France as well as examining how curfews have worked in states like Massachusetts and Virginia.

“All of that is being assessed,” Newsom said. “We have a lot of questions.”

In total, 40 counties have moved backwards into more restrictive tiers. For example, there were 13 counties in the most restrictive tier of purple last week. As of Monday, 41 counties are now in purple.

San Francisco jumped two tiers from the least restrictive yellow tier, which The City celebrated achieving on Oct. 20, to the second highest red tier.

Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said at a separate press conference with Breed that “we are really focusing on trying to keep from moving further backward.”

“Right now, we do not have any immediate plans to place further restrictions,” Colfax said. “We are emphasizing the fact that people should not travel during the holiday season. We hope that this is enough to beat back the surge.”

The City has seen its new cases jump from an average of 29 cases daily to 97, between Oct. 10 and Nov. 10.

Amid the “explosion of new cases throughout The City,” Colfax recommended no one travel for the Thanksgiving holiday.

“Please do not travel,” Colfax said.”Stay at home with your immediate household.”

Breed also called on people not to travel or have people come visit them for the holidays, warning it could exacerbate the spread of the virus and lead to increased hospitalizations weeks later.

“This year we are asking people to sacrifice,” Breed said.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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