SAN FRANCISCO - San Francisco on Monday moves into the next phase of its reopening plan, meaning that some businesses can now offer services indoors.
Early in the morning, Fitness SF in Market Square was already open and people were working out inside.
Gyms and fitness centers are now allowed to offer indoor services at limited capacity after months of being shuttered due to the coronavirus pandemic.
So are hair salons, barbershops and other personal care services like nail and tattoo shops.
Some outdoor entertainment businesses like mini-golf, and bus and boat tours can also reopen.
Only services where face coverings can be worn at all times by everyone can reopen right now.
San Francisco is currently in the "substantial" or red tier on the state’s new reopening guideline.
That’s the second-most restrictive tier but being there allows San Francisco to move faster than expected with reopening.
Hotels and short-term rentals can allow people back for personal trips, which is great news for Kevin Carroll, president and CEO of the Hotel Council of San Francisco. He noted that San Francisco has been behind other cities in the state for reopening hotels.
“We’re being very realistic. The biggest thing is getting our employees back to work," Carroll said. "I mean our industry before COVID we had 25,000 employees just in the hotels themselves."
Hotels are vital to San Francisco’s tourism comeback, he added. They bring in revenue in taxes and to the hotels themselves.
“Even more importantly, when someone stays in the hotel they spend more money outside the hotel so that’s why small businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions, tours, all of those are going to benefit if we can get people into our hotels,” said Carroll.
Attractions also lure people to the city.
“The bigger boat operators like Blue and Gold, and a Hornblower Tours have not been allowed to go out and operate, so they’re going to be allowed to operate as of Monday,” said Sheila Chandor, VP of Maine Operations at Pier 39.
Though details are still being worked out, it’s anticipated larger boats - like blue and gold fleet tours -- will all be allowed to take on limited passengers under social distancing guidelines.
Small operators, 8 or so, have already been allowed to operate since July, with capacity limited to 12.
“And from the moment they started operating again tickets were being sold at the marina booth, the demand was overwhelming, they sold out every single day,” said Chandor.
Pier 39 says demand has been heavily tilted toward locals, like some of those who took a whale watching tour Sunday afternoon.
“It was really amazing actually because there were so few people on the boat, social distancing was really easy, there was plenty of space,” said Katherine Delafkaran of San Francisco.
The hope is some of the bigger boats opening up additional attractions will draw even bigger demand, and start bringing more tourists from outside the Bay Area.
And there's more.
On Sept. 21, indoor museums, zoos and aquariums will open and K through 6th-grade classes can get back to in-person learning.
By the end of September, the goal is open places of worship with limited capacity.
Middle school in-person learning could start by October and high school by November.
This plan could all change it depends on health indicators in San Francisco staying stable or improving.