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San Francisco lifts local 10-day quarantine order but urges against non-essential travel

Those who travel out of state or more than 120 miles from home still advised to quarantine for 10 days.

Beginning today, San Franciscans who engage in non-essential travel outside the Bay Area region will no longer be required to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival home. The health order was implemented in mid-December in response to a surge in cases from Thanksgiving travel. The lift comes at a time when the City has shown continued progress in managing the virus. The City is recording a seven-day average of 89 cases per day, which is down 76 percent from a high of a seven-day average of 374 cases per day at the peak of the most recent surge. 

However, the City continues to strongly recommend that people follow the existing State travel advisory, which advises against non-essential travel anywhere outside of the state or 120 miles away from home. “Non-essential” travel includes travel that is considered tourism or recreational in nature. Destinations beyond the 120-mile radius might include Tahoe, Big Sur or Mount Shasta. Additionally, under the State travel advisory, people arriving in or returning to California from other states or countries should self-quarantine for 10 days after arrival. For a definition of essential travel, refer to the City’s Stay Safer at Home Order.  

Travel—especially the use of shared, enclosed vehicles in air, bus, or rail travel—can increase a person's chance of spreading and getting COVID-19. People arriving in California from other states or Californians returning from outside the state could potentially introduce new sources of infection, including new strains of the virus. Travel between different regions in California could also exacerbate community spread. Postponing travel and staying close to home is still a key practice to protect oneself and others from COVID-19. 

“Lifting this order does not mean that it’s now safe to just hop on a plane or go on a road trip,” said San Francisco’s Acting Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip. “This is not a travel free-for-all. We’ve made tremendous progress and brought our case numbers down, but we need to keep our guards up. The growing prevalence of variants, some of which were brought from abroad, is further proof that we must be extra cautious. If we do everything we are supposed to—wear our masks, practice physical distancing, avoid indoor gatherings with other households—we can continue to reopen businesses, schools and community activities. Voluntarily quarantining after traveling out of state or 120 miles from home helps protect everyone. Let’s go forward, not backward.”  

While San Francisco is lifting the travel quarantine, individual organizations such as schools or workplaces may require individuals to complete any travel quarantines already underway.