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Still in Orange Tier, San Francisco Expands Concerts and Other Activities

  • Indoor concerts, performances and other events may expand to 50% capacity provided that social distancing is maintained, according to updated guidelines

  • With COVID cases stable but not declining, San Francisco remains in the orange tier for now

  • Anyone over age 16 is eligible to receive a COVID vaccine, although supply may be limited this month due to issues with Johnson & Johnson doses

With COVID cases appearing stable, San Francisco is expanding indoor concerts, conferences and other activities despite remaining in the orange tier for now.

Effective April 15, indoor ticketed and seated events, such as sports, theater shows, concerts and graduation ceremonies, may open at up to 35% capacity provided that social distancing can be maintained. That includes the Golden State Warriors, who will begin welcoming fans back to Chase Center starting next week with proof of either vaccination or a negative COVID test.

“San Francisco is continuing to reopen and this latest round of activities and events that can start to resume is an exciting step for our city,” said Mayor London Breed on Wednesday. “We are still in a pandemic, and we can’t let our guard down – but that doesn’t mean we can’t still find ways to adapt to our new normal, have fun, and enjoy all that San Francisco has to offer.”

That doesn't include the usual 4/20 celebration at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, a mostly impromptu gathering that typically draws thousands of cannabis tourists to San Francisco on April 20. Breed said this week that the area will be fenced off, marking the second consecutive cancellation of the event.

In addition to indoor events, the City is allowing expanded capacity of up to 50% at outdoor ticketed events. Both indoor and outdoor operators can create vaccinated-only sections with relaxed social distancing rules for participants.

San Francisco health officials are hopeful that the pace of vaccinations will outweigh any potential risks tied to reopening. Neatly 60% of San Francisco residents aged 16 and over have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine, along with 84% of residents over 65.

Indoor business conferencesa linchpin of San Francisco's tourism economyare expected to pick up in the coming months, with a handful scheduled either at Moscone Center or surrounding hotels beginning in late summer.

San Francisco's vaccine supply is expected to dip for the month of April, owing to a Johnson & Johnson manufacturing snafu that resulted in the disposal of 15 million doses that would have otherwise been allocated to states and counties. The City is also pausing use of the vaccine due to rare reports of blood clots, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is currently investigating.

All San Francisco residents over the age of 16 are now eligible to receive a vaccine, although eligibility doesn't guarantee availability of appointments.

California Governor Gavin Newsom said that the state will lift virtually all COVID restrictions by June 15, provided that hospitalizations remain low and vaccine supply is sufficient to meet demand.

Local health officials are watching several COVID variants that are believed to be spreading in California, as well as surges taking places in other states, and said they will roll back activities if local COVID cases begin to rise significantly again.

"The last thing we all want is to rollback our reopening," said San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax. "If we continue to double down on the masking, physical distancing, and limiting of social gatherings with people outside one’s household, we can keep this disease in check."


Image by Jake Buonemani
Image by Rasmus Gundorff Sæderup

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