What to do
On April 14, 2021, the Department of Public Health updated a health order to allow many businesses to reopen further at the Orange Tier.
Updated statement from the San Francisco Health Officer
In alignment with the State’s recommendations, San Francisco began reopening at the State’s Orange Tier starting March 24, 2021. The reopening under the State’s Orange Tier expanded beginning on April 15, 2021, to allow some additional activities and increased capacity for others. The decision to reopen balances the public health risks of COVID-19 transmission with the public health risks of economic and mental health stress.
Even though COVID-19 case rates have come down, and more people are vaccinated, there remains a risk that people who you come into contact with may have COVID-19. Most COVID-19 infections are caused by people who have no symptoms of illness. We have also detected several variants of concern in the San Francisco Bay Area some of which have been reported to spread more easily and quickly from person to person. We don’t yet know exactly how these variants will impact vaccine effectiveness, although we are reassured by clinical trial and real world data that they will still work as intended. Therefore, the opening of sectors does not necessarily signify that these activities are “safe.”
We have made our best efforts to create guidance to help these activities and sectors provide safer environments for workers and the public. However, this requires that everyone do their part to make these activities as safe as possible, including: wearing a well-fitted masks that covers your mouth and nose especially when talking, avoiding indoor settings to the extent possible, maintaining at least 6 feet distance from those you don’t live with, getting tested and isolating if you are ill, complying with additional health protocols required of open businesses. People at risk for severe illness from COVID-19 — such as unvaccinated older adults and unvaccinated people with health risks — and those who live with or care for them are urged to defer participating in activities with other people outside their household where taking protective measures of wearing face masks and social distancing may be difficult, especially indoors or in crowded spaces.
If you are fully vaccinated (i.e., 14 days have passed since your final shot), you can feel safer about your own health risks when participating in activities permitted by our state and local health departments. However, please consider the possible risk your exposure may have on those around you, especially those you live with and those who are unvaccinated, when you take part in activities that involve people outside your household.
Stay healthy by staying home
Although COVID-19 cases have gone down, coming in contact with people you don’t live with is still risky. People may transmit COVID-19 while not feeling sick. Most people have yet to be vaccinated, and there are new, more contagious strains of COVID-19, here in the Bay Area.
To stay safe, limit the amount of time you are out of the house around others. Only have 1 person go out to shop. See other tips when you live with others.
Avoid any activities where you’d be in crowded, unmasked situations with people who don’t live with you, especially if:
- You are older and unvaccinated
- You have health risks and are unvaccinated
- You live with an unvaccinated person who is older or has health risks
If you go out, stay at least 6 feet away from people and wear a face covering
Stay at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with, including when shopping or walking. Get more information on physical distancing.
You must also wear a face covering when you are within 6 feet from people who don’t live with you. This includes:
- Dining, when you are not actively eating or drinking
- Waiting in line to go inside a store or get takeout
- Visiting businesses or public places, including places of worship
- Getting your hair cut, nails done, or other personal care service
- While at a gym
- On public transportation (or waiting for it)
- Driving or riding in a taxi or rideshare vehicle (even by yourself)
- In a space that others people might use later, even if you’re alone
- Working a job where you interact with others
- Walking or running outside and you pass someone
You will not be allowed to go into a business or board public transportation if you are not wearing a face covering.
You can go out to exercise
You can safely walk, bike or go for a run near your home with people you live with. If it would be difficult to stay 6 feet away from people you don’t live with, go somewhere else.
Only some types of businesses can be open during the coronavirus pandemic.
Order delivery whenever possible. Mail and delivery services are still running.
Everyone coming back to San Francisco from outside California counties is strongly recommended to quarantine for 10 days.
You should still avoid traveling outside of the Bay Area. You could bring more COVID-19 back to SF.
Look out for older adults and people most at risk
Older adults and those with underlying health conditions are most at risk of getting severe illness from COVID-19.
Consider if it’s worth the risk to go out if you are older or have a chronic health condition. Get things delivered or call someone to help you get essentials.
Check in on anyone who may be isolated during this time. Call, email, or talk through the door.
Limit face-to-face interactions to keep your at-risk loved ones safe.
Working during the coronavirus outbreak
Do not go to the emergency room unless you are having an actual emergency.
Dental appointments, elective surgeries and procedures and routine medical care are allowed. See FAQs for dental patients, provided by the Department of Public Health.
If you are feeling sick, call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center. You can also get tested for COVID-19 at various locations in San Francisco.
Schools and childcare
Schools must meet safety standards before they can reopen.
Grades TK to 12 can reopen now with approval from the Health Officer, which includes an approved safety plan and a site assessment. Each school will reopen separately.
Check the school reopening dashboard to see where schools are in the process.
Schools may provide distance learning to their students.
Childcare providers and after school programs can open for all children. Find out more about schools and childcare during the coronavirus pandemic.
Remote services are still the safest option.
If you do attend an in-person service, outdoor services are the safer option. Choose 1 service to attend per week, at most. More gatherings means more risk to all worshippers.
You can walk your dog. Dog walkers can also walk dogs from more than one household at a time, unless a dog belongs to someone who was diagnosed or exposed to someone with COVID-19. Use a leash, and distance yourself at least 6 feet from other pets and owners. Bring your own water and waste bags.
You can go to the vet or pet hospital.
You can get your dog groomed, but you cannot go inside to drop off your dog. You should drop off your dog on the curb outside your groomer’s business.
You can also have a groomer or petsitter come to your home.
You can take your dog to a kennel, but you cannot go inside to drop off your dog. You should drop off your dog on the curb outside the kennel.
Some businesses can be open to the public, if they follow physical distancing and other safety requirements, like face coverings.
Businesses not allowed to open to the public can perform basic operations.
This is a legally enforceable order issued under California law. It is a crime to violate this order. You may be punished by a fine or imprisonment if you do.
If there are other guidelines that do not agree with SF’s order, follow the stricter rule.
If you see businesses or others not complying with the Stay Home order, you can report a violation.
Progress indicators to inform COVID-19 strategy
Public health officials will track certain indicators to assess our progress in containing COVID-19. It will help inform our strategy for future public health orders.
Last updated April 20, 2021