SF, Santa Clara County, is tightening the rules amid an alarming coronavirus surge


As coronavirus cases continued to rise alarmingly, other Bay counties – San Francisco and San Mateo – entered the state’s most restrictive reopening level, crimson, which causes most of the remaining indoor activities to stop on Sunday and keep residents out of curfew from Monday. night.

Meanwhile, Santa Clara County, which is already at the purple level, has announced new restrictions from Sunday that will go even further than state rules. This included quarantining returning travelers, extremely strict indoor capacity restrictions on stores, and an actual ban on San Francisco 49ers games at Levi’s Stadium.

“This epidemic is like a high-speed train, and our forecasts say we will aim to derail by the third week of December if we don’t apply the brakes now with full force,” said Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody, adding that the thanksgiving gatherings can make matters worse. The county experienced its highest one-day case count of 747 on Saturday, and hospital care more than doubled in less than three weeks.

Nine Bay Area counties reported 2,027 new cases on Saturday – a daily new peak, according to data reported by county health departments and compiled by The Chronicle and the Los Angeles Times. This figure does not include data for the counties of Marin, Napa, Solano and Sonoma, which either have not yet reported new cases of the day or do not report on weekends. The previous one-day peak was 1,836 on Aug. 14, when the state cleared the backlog from its summer computer error.

With the exception of Marin, all Bay Area counties are on the purple standard of the state’s reopening plan. The counties of Calaveras, Lake, Modoc and Plumas also kicked purple on Saturday, while the counties of Alpine, Inyo and Mariposa moved to the red level.


The new purple designation of San Francisco and San Mateo counties means they will have to stop indoor activities in museums, cinemas, gyms (except for one-on-one training, said San Francisco Mayor, London Breed) and places of worship. Indoor dining is also prohibited – so all restaurants in the Bay Area will only be outdoors. (San Mateo County was the lonely room that allowed for indoor dining, as San Francisco and Marin County, which remain at the red standard, recently closed, although the state had not yet demanded them.)

The restrictions will take effect at noon on Sunday in San Francisco, although some attractions, including the De Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, the Museum of Asian Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the SkyStar wheel at Golden Gate Park, said they were welcoming their last visitors on Saturday. The curfew will be in effect in both counties from 10pm Monday to 5pm. It requires people to stay home during these hours, except for basic activities, including certain jobs, shopping for groceries, doctor visits, dog walking, or exercise. Restaurants in particular may be affected, as some serve customers after 10 p.m.

The purple mark represents a sharp drop for San Francisco, which was less than a month ago in the state’s least restrictive yellow standard. Cases have risen sharply over the past four weeks, public health officials said. The number of new cases in the city averaged 130 per day last week, compared to 73 per day in the first week of November. On Saturday, Francisco reported 256 new cases of coronavirus, a record.

“This is the most aggressive wave SF has ever seen,” London Mayor Breed wrote on Twitter.

He added: “We all need to do our part, now more than ever, to stop the spread of COVID-19. That means doubling all the things we’ve all done: wearing a mask, keeping our distance from others, not getting along with people outside the household, and washing our hands often.

Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said he was planning a conference with lawyers and would potentially take legal action in light of the covered church ban, calling it blatant discrimination and pointing to a recent Supreme Court ruling banning religious practice in New York. restrictions on services.

“Catholics in San Francisco are fully committed to public safety in conducting worship services,” he said in a statement. “Our protocols require a mask, social separation, bathing and ventilation. But the government still chooses to consider worship less important than buying shoes. “

Stores in San Francisco need to reduce their capacity to 25%, except for grocery stores that can operate at 50% capacity in purple.

San Mateo County is also facing a big leap, with new cases increasing by about 85% from October to November.

“We haven’t seen numbers like this in a long time, and we really need to reverse this incredibly worrying trend,” said Mike Callagy, San Mateo County Manager.

David Canepa, the San Mateo County Superintendent himself, attributed the increase in cases to increased testing of individual cases in the county in addition to the surge. “We are in the right position to deal with the wave, given the hospital’s capacity and the resources needed to fight COVID,” he said in a statement.

With new restrictions in San Mateo County, Jing Chen, co-owner of Therapy Stores, a Burlingame women’s clothing and home furnishings store, said only seven people can enter the store at a time. Chen said that although he is worried about his business, he understands why action is important.

“As a trader that is part of the community, we just have to do it. It’s not just about me. We are together in this, ”he said.

In Santa Clara County, grocery stores, drugstores and pharmacies will be limited to 25% capacity – that was 50% – and other indoor stores will only have to remain at 10% capacity (previously it was 25%). Also new is the requirement for people to be quarantined for 14 days to return to the county if they have traveled more than 150 miles, and travel is not highly recommended. Outdoor meals are still allowed.

Santa Clara County also bans all contact sports with people outside the household, which means the 49-year-old has to find a new short-term home. The directive, which runs until at least December 21, will also affect teams from Stanford and San Jose.

“We’ve gotten to a place where our cases and hospital care are so high that we need to do something to sort it out,” said Cody, the county health officer. “I’ve been alerting you to the rising number of cases and hospital care for a while now, and now we’re at a critical inflection point. In fact, what we do and what we don’t do starting today can be a matter of our lives and death for many in our county.

Health officials from four Bay Area counties – Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin and San Francisco – along with the city of Berkeley on Saturday expressed support for the new restrictions in Santa Clara County, stating in a statement that “they should take similar steps soon. in order to preserve the remaining regional hospital capacity. “

Although the strictest in the Gulf area, Santa Clara County rules do not extend to Los Angeles County, which issued a new home residence order that went into effect on Monday and bans most gatherings until at least Dec. 20. Please do not gather with people outside your household, ”Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the county’s director of public health, pleaded on Saturday.

In Palo Alto, Mary Jaiswal, the owner of the Cielo clothing store, has not yet heard news of the withdrawal of retail capacity in Santa Clara County to 10% utilization – but said it would ultimately not affect her because the number of people admitted to the store was already limited to four can be done.

Jaiswal, who has been in business for more than 30 years, said business has fallen by 50-60% so far during the holiday season. The epidemic was “very difficult for us – only a few people are trying to help with the store and shopping,” he said. “It’s the worst I’ve ever had, but we’re always trying to stay positive.”

San Francisco Chronicle staff member Tony Bravo contributed to this report.

Janelle Bitker, Erin Allday and Sarah Ravani are staff members of the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] Twitter: @janellebitker, @erinallday, @SarRavani