SAN FRANCISCO, July 10 (Xinhua) -- San Francisco Mayor London Breed on Friday announced that the city will substantially continue the pause on reopening until the COVID-19 key health indicators improve and the spread of the virus is brought under control once again.
San Francisco is currently experiencing a rise in COVID-19 transmissions, cases, and hospitalizations that is forcing the city to slow down reopening to protect community health, the announcement said.
On July 13, the San Francisco Zoo and Gardens will be allowed to reopen with approved safety plans, and shoppers will be able to resume using reusable bags.
Personal services such as haircuts and massages will be the next groups of businesses considered for reopening with the precondition that both clients and providers can be masked at all times.
According to the announcement, other activities and businesses that were previously scheduled to reopen either June 29 or July 13 will remain on pause. These include indoor dining, outdoor bars without food, indoor museums and aquariums, outdoor swimming pools, and real estate open houses by appointment.
"COVID-19 is still too prevalent in our community, and we need to be vigilant and take all the precautions that are proven to slow the spread," said Breed. "Unfortunately, reopening businesses that will encourage gathering and interacting with people outside of your own household is not the safe thing to do right now ... In order for that to happen, we need to once again flatten the curve."
As of Friday morning, San Francisco has recorded 4,316 cases of COVID-19 and 50 deaths. One of the key indicators of COVID-19 prevalence in the city, the number of new cases per day in 100,000 people, has risen to 7.4, well above the goal of 1.8 and a sharp rise since the city began reopening on May 18, when it was 3.5.
The city is currently exceeding the testing goal of 1,800 tests per day, with 2,584 average tests per day and a total of 174,365 tests conducted to date.
"Reopening the economy while in the middle of an active global pandemic was never going to be easy," said Carmen Chu, a Chinese American politician serving as co-chair of the city's Economic Recovery Task Force. "But each of us doing our part to stay distanced and wear a mask, combined with the city's approach of anchoring reopening decisions based on real-time on-the-ground health indicators will help us navigate a way forward."