SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco is charting its own course on how to reopen, differentiating itself from the five Bay Area counties it once stood aligned with on how to move forward in the COVID-19 fight.
Mayor London Breed announced at a news conference on Thursday that the city's current stay-at-home order, which was set to expire on Sunday, would be extended "indefinitely." Yet at the same time, Breed announced a tentative schedule for loosening restrictions on restaurants, hair salons, gyms and other businesses that have been shut for months.
On June 15, the city hopes to allow outdoor fitness camps and yoga to resume with social distancing. There are also plans for outdoor dining, indoor shopping, sporting events, and religious services to continue.
San Francisco set a target date of July 13 to allow for indoor dining, hair salons, and barber shops to reopen.
The city is eyeing mid-August for entering into Phase 3 of its reopening plan, which would permit gyms and fitness centers to restart operations along with tattoo parlors and nail salons. Movie theaters, bowling alleys, and bars could also open, but in a limited capacity.
Public health officials said those dates could change based on COVID-19 data indicators such as an increase in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths.
With San Francisco gradually reopening up more sectors and allowing for some activities to restart, city leaders are tightening restrictions around wearing face masks. Breed asked that people wear masks outside if they within 30 feet of others.
The new timeline for reopening and shelter-in-place order shows San Francisco breaking further from its close coordination with the other Bay Area counties.
Early on in the COVID-19 crisis, health officers for the counties of San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, and the City of Berkeley, were mostly in agreement on how to combat the virus. But the virus has posed a unique set of challenges for each county, with some counties being hit harder than others.
Breed said because Bay Area counties are so closely connected and intertwined, county health officers worked together to try and make decisions that were in the best interest of public health.
"In San Francisco for example, you don't just have to live here to be impacted. People come from all over the Bay Area who work in this city," Breed said. Adding, "But we also realize San Francisco is more of a dense city than other places. But also we see our numbers and the data is a lot different."
Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said it was time the city tailored its health orders and guidelines specifically for its region.