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San Francisco introduces stricter social distancing rules to slow spread of COVID-19

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — At a news conference Wednesday, San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said the extension of the shelter order to may first comes with greater restrictions.

Among them — the closure of playgrounds, picnic areas and outdoor fitness areas. But the new order also requires essential businesses like grocery stores to have a protocol in place to maintain social distancing by limiting the number of people who can enter into the facility at any one time.

Stores are now marking six-foot increments where lines may form, providing hand sanitizer at or near the entrance and regularly disinfecting high-touch surfaces.

“Are we as a community in San Francisco and in the region flattening the curve? My message today for you is it is simply too early to tell,” Dr. Colfax said.

City officials also announced that on Thursday they will begin transferring homeless shelter resident to a 394-bed facility at Moscone West to increase social distancing at existing shelters. They have also secured 479 hotels rooms to isolate homeless residents who have either tested positive or are showing symptom but don’t need hospitalization.

“We have another two hotels totaling 576 rooms that we anticipate finalizing our contracting at the end of today,” Trent Rohrer said.

In addition to vulnerable populations like the homeless and seniors, hotel rooms will be made available for first responders and health care works. San Francisco Mayor London Breed also announced the creating a program so volunteers can be paired up with seniors to help them during the pandemic.

“The program we are announcing today provides you with an opportunity to help seniors and are vulnerable, especially people living in isolation and can’t do basic errands to get groceries and support and resource they need,” Breed said.

The mayor also touched on how the pandemic is impacting the City’s coffers. She says the City can expect a deficit over between $1.1 and $1.7 billion over the next two fiscal years. 

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