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Reopening status: San Francisco eyes yellow tier

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – San Francisco will likely move into yellow tier reopening status next week based on its current case rates. 

While this means an increased capacity of up to 50% for places like gyms, movie theaters and entertainment centers. The main changes will be for bars and live performances.

This possible tier change comes after San Francisco just missed the mark a couple of weeks ago but now with updated metrics for the state’s reopening tiers.

San Francisco now qualifies to move forward as long as case rates stay the same.

San Francisco’s likely moving into yellow tier status next week, which means bars not serving food would be allowed to open indoors at 25% capacity for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, according to state guidelines.

“With the food component being gone, I know many many bar owners are breathing a huge sigh of relief not having to do food anymore,” Ben Bleiman said.

Ben Bleiman, who owns several bars in San Francisco, including Tonic, Soda Popinski’s, and Teeth, says the yellow tier change will help a lot of bars in the city bounce back.

“Bar owners, we don’t have servers. We had to scramble to get all the logistics and gear to serve food and some places nailed it but others it was just a real hassle and cost a lot of money in labor, cost a lot of money in equipment and then the customer experience was difficult so it’s a really big deal to letting us get back to doing what we do which is selling drinks,” Bleiman said.

The yellow tier status would also allow live performance venues to increase their capacity.

However, most venues in the city say it’s still not enough to operate at a profit.

“None of them are really open and the limited capacity means that you spend more money on staff than you could possibly make at the door and at the bar,” Devon Dossett said.

Manager at DNA Lounge, Devon Dossett says like many other live music venues in the city. 

They don’t plan to open until after June 15th, the target date California aims to fully reopen.

The tier change comes after the state updated its reopening metrics for the yellow tier to an adjusted rate of two COVID cases per 100,000 residents, compared to the previous “yellow” tier threshold of 1 case per 100,000 residents.

“It makes sense. We are the municipality with the highest first dose rate of vaccinations. We are 70% first-dose vaccinations in the city of San Francisco. No other place has managed to get this high. The national right now across the United States is 42.7% first dose which is so high so not only does that decrease transmissions but it makes your cases really low. It makes your hospitalizations really low,” Dr. Monica Gandhi said.

The tier change would also come with good timing as San Francisco announced plans for outdoor high school graduation ceremonies on Tuesday.

While these activities would be allowed under state guidelines, it’s ultimately then up to San Francisco to decide if some or all will be allowed.

KRON4 reached out to the health officer’s office Tuesday and while they couldn’t confirm what will or won’t be allowed, they said they are currently working on yellow tier plans.

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