Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced the extension beyond January 4 of the public health order implemented on December 17 that places a mandatory quarantine of 10 days on anyone traveling, moving, or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the Bay Area and discouraging any non-essential travel. The extension to the travel quarantine order responds to the significant prevalence of the coronavirus throughout the State and Country as well as the need to reduce the exposure and isolate people who may be contagious in order to protect our region’s ability to provide intensive care for critically ill patients. The order also protects against the spread of a new variant of the virus detected recently in the United Kingdom, Colorado, and California.
Additionally, San Francisco extended its local Stay Safer at Home order implemented on December 3 and subsequently required on December 17 by the State of California when the Bay Area’s ICU bed availability fell below 15%. The earliest the State could lift its Regional Stay at Home order for the Bay Area is January 7. But due to ongoing regional ICU availability limitations and continuing increase of cases, San Francisco does not expect the Bay Area will meet the State’s thresholds for lifting the order by that date.
The extension of both health orders will continue until the Bay Area Region is no longer subject to the State’s Regional Stay at Home Order. Once the State lifts its Regional Stay at Home order, San Francisco will reassess the key health indicators to determine if they support relaxing the current restrictions on businesses and activities, and resuming the measured re-opening process, guided by the State’s tier framework. Those key health indicators include ICU bed availability and other hospital availability system-wide in San Francisco, as well as COVID-19 case rates. As of Wednesday, December 30 the Bay Area’s ICU availability hovered at approximately 7.5% and cases continued to climb regionally, indicating that it is unlikely demand for ICU care will decline in the coming weeks. It will also be at least two weeks before the City fully understands the impact of travel and gatherings associated with the December and 2021 New Year’s holidays.
Preliminary data shows that the Stay Safer at Home order and the travel quarantine order seem to have slowed the infections. Though cases continue to climb, they are increasing at a slower rate than when the orders were implemented. As a result of our collective actions, more than 400 deaths may have prevented.
Public Health officials are watching the data carefully to see what impact the December holidays will have on case rates and hospital capacity. They expect to better understand this impact and project when the Bay Area may meet the State’s threshold for lifting the order in the weeks following the holidays.
"There are glimmers of hope and now is not the time to let up," - Mayor London N. Breed
“We have been proactive in putting the stay at home order and travel quarantine in place to protect San Franciscans and in the hopes that by acting quickly, we could flatten the curve and re-open faster,” said Mayor Breed. “This seems to be working but we need more time to determine that we are moving in the right direction and that the December holidays don’t set us back. There are glimmers of hope and now is not the time to let up.”
Travel outside the Bay Area increases an individual’s chance of getting infected and spreading the virus to others upon their return. Moreover, in light of the first case of the new strain of COVID originating in the UK being detected in the United States and because the nature of travel often includes interactions and close contact with many people, reducing travel as much as possible and quarantining after any travel outside of the Bay Area is of critical importance to stopping the spread of the virus.
“The steps we have taken together have served us well, but the fact remains that San Francisco is in the midst of its worst surge yet," said Dr. Grant Colfax. "We must continue to take the preventative measures that we know slow the spread of the virus and save lives. Please continue to avoid gatherings, wear facial coverings, and keep your distance. We’ve crushed the curve before and can do it again."
Details about the restrictions
Read more about the current restrictions: