An uptick in new cases of COVID-19 has led several counties in the region to place new restrictions on businesses in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
San Francisco will, from Saturday, roll back the reopening of indoor dining at restaurants and bars with food, as well as reduce capacities at gyms and indoor movie theaters to 25 percent or maximum 50 people.
Additionally, any plans to open high schools will be put on pause, city officials said.
Over the last month, the number of new cases in San Francisco has risen by 250 percent, Department of Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. Currently, the city is seeing 80 new cases daily, up from just 32 new cases daily two weeks ago.
“This is consistent, unfortunately, with what we are seeing across California and the Bay Area,” he said. “If we do not pause and do not reverse, it is entirely plausible where we could face a situation where our healthcare system could become overwhelmed and reverse any progress we’ve made all these months.”
On Tuesday Contra Costa and Santa Cruz counties reverted to Tier 2, the “red” coronavirus reopening tier, forcing both to reduce indoor capacities for businesses such as restaurants and gyms.
The move pares the maximum indoor capacity of many indoor businesses from 50 percent to 25 percent or 100 people, whichever is fewer, while gyms must return to 10 percent of their maximum indoor capacity. In addition, businesses such as offices, card rooms, bowling centers, climbing gyms, wineries and bars, breweries and distilleries at which food is not served must close once again.
Contra Costa County Health Director Anna Roth and Health Officer Dr. Chris Farnitano last week signaled the likelihood of new restrictions, given increasing local case numbers and hospitalizations. The county’s seven-day daily average of new COVID-19 cases was 5.3 new cases per 100,000 population as of Tuesday.
Other data also reflect an alarming rise in local cases, Roth said. On Monday, there were 46 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in Contra Costa County, she said — the highest one-day total since September, and a 200 percent increase over the past four weeks.
Alameda County remains in the “orange” reopening tier, according to data published on the county’s COVID-19 information website. The rate of new cases in the county has been trending upward since late October, and as of Tuesday stands at 4.9 new cases per 100,000 population, state health information data show.
On Monday, health officers from Contra Costa, Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties jointly issued recommendations for minimizing COVID-19 spread during the holidays, when families and friends typically gather.
Recommendations for gatherings include keeping them outside as much as possible, limiting gatherings to no more than three households; gathering for no more than two hours; refraining from singing and shouting that can spread the virus faster than normal speaking; and limiting gatherings to one per family and avoiding multiple gatherings involving multiple households.