San Francisco, CA

San Francisco bars officially open for indoor dining Thursday

Built in the Bay
(Sirachai Arunrugstichai / Getty Images)

By Huey Bergstrom

(SAN FRANCISCO) Bars across the City will reopen indoor dining this weekend to the clamoring mass of San Franciscan drinkers.

San Francisco technically reaches the yellow and least restrictive tier on Thursday May 6, which means bars and other similar establishments can begin serving people inside.

The City's Health Department reviewed the changes in a webinar last week and reminded citizens that even though activities are allowed to resume, that does not make them safe options and safety precautions, like social distancing and mask-wearing will remain in place.

San Francisco is the first county in the Bay Area to reach the least-restrictive yellow tier, allowing for indoor drinking at 25% capacity, and fully vaccinated people to remove their mask for outdoor dining. The newest health requirements will likely have the biggest effect on bars which, for the most part, have been closed since last year for indoor drinking.

Similarily, mask guidelines are loosening for outdoor activities in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

“The Yellow Tier means that no longer are there any businesses that are required to keep their doors shut in this City, and it means we are continuing to allow more activities to be done safely with more people," Mayor Breed said in a statement.

According to that statement, 72% of San Franciscans over the age of 16 have gotten their first dose and 85% of people over the age of 65 have gotten their first dose.

This comes despite cases of a new COVID-19 variant being reported across the West Coast and throughout the Bay Area.

The push and pull between business leaders and health officials appears to be assuaged in San Francisco, at least for now.

"We want to reiterate that this tier change, and all further reopening, including the June 15th date, is dependent upon people continuing to obey the existing restrictions and becoming vaccinated as soon as possible," said Laurie Thomas, executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association (GGRA), a local lobbying group for the restaurant industry. "We urge our industry and all San Franciscans to focus on reopening safely."

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