'Slow responses:' Bay Area workers required to be outdoors describe air quality impact

All around the Bay Area air quality varies from unhealthy to very unhealthy. Health officials advising people to stay indoors as much as possible. But, there are lots of people who have no choice. Their job requires them to work outdoors.

San Francisco's iconic cable cars are off the rails leaving tourists disappointed. "Well yeah," said San Diego tourist Lynde Dillinger "The cable car was one of the main things, and how we were going to get around. So, so now what?"

San Francisco's Municipal Transpiration Agency said air quality was too dangerous for the open air vehicles. "In order to protect our employees and people riding the cable cars in these open air vehicles we have stopped service and are providing bus shuttles on the cable car lines instead," said SFMTA's Paul Rose.

But, there are still many who's jobs have them working outside. Postal workers are still delivering, construction workers still building, street vendors still selling. For the city's bike messengers pedaling up and down san Francisco’s hills, quick responses are critical. The smoke some say has dulled usually sharp instincts.  

"Slow responses to everything. Almost like a laughing gas type response or if I had been like spray painting a room or some kind of exposure to vapor like that," said bike messenger Julian Roundtree.

"Our goal is to try and keep people indoors and the windows closed for the purposes of making sure that people are safe" said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.

San Francisco city leaders addressed the ongoing air quality issues saying first responders are on standby. But, so far, there has not been a spike in emergency calls related to the poor air quality.

Emergency management saying the city still needs to provide critical services despite the unhealthy air. "We are taking precautions with our own city employees and particularly those that work outside to provide whatever protections we can," said Mary Ellen Carroll San Francisco's Department of Emergency Management.

San Francisco's top health official saying the masks that can be spotted everywhere in the city can only do so much. "One of the things that people ask me about are these masks that people wear. And, one of the things we want to emphasize is these masks are no substitute for staying indoors," said Tomás Aragón Health Officer for San Francisco.

The city made riding Muni free Friday knowing that people need to get around and hoping to minimize the time spent outdoors.

The poor air conditions expected to persist until at least Monday.

Museums around the city are offering free admission through the weekend trying to make sure people have someplace to go rather than spend time outside.