SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – San Francisco officials on Thursday announced local health order changes, including the easing of some mask requirements, as COVID-19 cases continue to drop.

Updated guidelines

Starting Feb. 1,  San Francisco office workers, gym members and other “stable cohorts” of people who are up to date on their vaccinations – including boosters when eligible – may remove masks indoors again.

Other COVID-19 safety guidelines in these settings remain in effect.

Additionally, people will be allowed to enter indoor “mega-events” of 500 people or
more with a negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to being up to date on vaccinations. Masking would still be required, officials said.

Religious and medical exemptions to vaccine requirements with a negative test will be allowed for indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, fitness centers, and other venues where food or drink is consumed or where people have elevated breathing.

Consistent with the state’s current mask rules, San Francisco’s indoor mask mandate remains
in effect for most public settings, regardless of vaccination status.

Rapid antigen tests may be taken within the day before entry, and PCR laboratory tests may be taken
within two days before entry, according to officials. A photo taken of a self-administered rapid antigen test, like an at-home test, will not be accepted.

Additional changes to the health order affect personnel in high-risk settings and include:
• Extending the deadline a month from February 1 to March 1 for personnel in high-risk settings to
be up-to-date on vaccination, meaning receiving a booster shot when eligible. The extension of
the deadline aligns with state requirements, but also includes San Francisco’s health order
requirements on boosters for people whose regular work hours are outside of designated high-risk settings, but who visit high-risk settings as part of their work (such as many police officers,
paramedics, and deputy sheriffs working in jails)

‘Booster’ clarification

In the updated health order, officials clarify when a person may receive a vaccination or booster after a COVID-19 infection. The San Francisco Department of Public Health recommends people get vaccinated or receive a booster dose as soon as possible at least 10 days but no more than 30 days
after recovery from infection and discontinuation of isolation, unless a healthcare provider has a
strong reason for the booster to be delayed.

Additionally, the health order defines “booster eligible” as the time when a person qualifies to receive a booster under CDC guidelines. Until a person is eligible for a booster, they are considered up to date on their vaccination.