San Francisco wants OK to reopen barbershops, outdoor bars ahead of schedule

A worker wearing a protective mask cleans a table in front of a pizza restaurant in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Monday, June 15, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

San Francisco officials are seeking state approval to accelerate the city’s reopening of some businesses such as bars, barbershops and nail salons as soon as next week, Mayor London Breed announced Monday.

The city has sent a request to the state to move into its next phase of reopening on June 29, rather than mid-July as was previously scheduled, Breed said. She added that if the state approves the request, that will allow zoos, outdoor swimming pools, outdoor bars, hair salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, nail salons and museums to reopen next week.

Key health indicators that track the city’s progress in combating the virus such as the number of hospitalizations and new cases must remain stable for the city to follow through with the plan, Breed said.

“Thanks to San Franciscans’ efforts to follow health requirements, wear face coverings, and practice social distancing, our COVID-19 health indicators are in a good place and we can continue reopening our city,” Breed said in a statement. “We know a lot of businesses and residents are struggling financially, and this next step will help get more San Franciscans back to work while still balancing safety.”

Breed’s office said the decision to allow more businesses to reopen is driven by the city’s success in hitting health indicators. The five health indicators are: local hospital capacity, the number of daily new cases, testing capacity, ability to conduct contact tracing and the supply of personal protective equipment.

As far as the hospital system goes, San Francisco saw a 5% decline in Covid-19 hospitalizations, according to the city and county, and the necessary amount of ICU beds remain available. San Francisco has seen 2.5 new cases per 100,000 residents every day on average over the past seven days, which puts officials on “low alert.” The city is meeting its target for testing capacity and 87% of infections have been reached for contact tracing over the past two weeks. 

The announcement comes as overall statewide cases in California are on the rise. The state has reported more than 178,000 confirmed cases, according to the California Department of Public Health, but nearly half of those cases are concentrated in Los Angeles County. San Francisco has reported just 3,000 confirmed cases, according to the state.

“We appreciate the Governor’s recognition that gradual reopening depends on local circumstances and the health indicators in each community,” Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said in a statement.

He added that local health officials expect cases to rise as more businesses reopen and restrictions are lifted.

“To keep that increase manageable and sustain our commitment to protecting the people most vulnerable to the virus, everyone in San Francisco must continue to take the precautions that save lives,” he said.

San Francisco began to allow curbside pick-up at stores and outdoor businesses to reopen on May 17. Last week, outdoor dining and indoor retail were allowed to resume operations with some modifications. San Francisco’s stay-at-home order remains in effect, but is being slowly amended to allow for more activities as businesses are allowed to reopen.

San Francisco officials expect to move into the next phase of reopening on July 13, when officials will allow for indoor dining and real estate open houses to resume. 

San Francisco Bay area officials were among the first in the country to issue a stay-at-home order on March 16, when the city had only 40 confirmed cases of Covid-19. Across all of California, there were 470 confirmed cases of Covid-19 at the time, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

— CNBC’s Noah Higgins-Dunn contributed to this report.

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