San Francisco on Sunday again avoided being banished to the state’s most restrictive purple tier, even as as coronavirus cases surged. But residents should not get their hopes up: It’s still likely to happen this week, officials said.
The purple designation would place the city under California’s new curfew order within two days and force almost all indoor activities to shut down just in time for stuffing and turkey on Thanksgiving.
Once San Francisco is downgraded to the purple tier, indoor operations such as museums, movie theaters, gyms and places of worship would be required to shut down within 24 hours. The curfew, which requires nonessential activities to stop between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., would go into effect two days after the move to purple.
“The state has not yet reassigned us to the most restrictive tier of purple,” said a spokesman for Mayor London Breed. “We remain in red as of today but expect to be reassigned this week.”
The new restrictions also would include a ban on indoor social gatherings, which currently are allowed for a maximum of three households. Assuming the new restrictions land before Thursday, that would force Thanksgiving festivities — which the city has strongly discouraged anyway — outside.
As of Friday, 41 of 58 California counties, accounting for nearly 95% of the state’s population, were in the purple tier. Gov. Gavin Newsom issued the month-long curfew order for all purple counties on Thursday, and it went into effect Saturday night at 10 p.m. Six of the nine Bay Area counties currently are in the purple tier. In the Bay Area, that included every county except San Francisco, Marin and San Mateo.
Public health officials hope that the curfew, along with other efforts to discourage people from gathering or interacting with those outside their home, will lower the rate of new infections and prevent hospitals from becoming overwhelmed — something the Bay Area has managed to do during previous pandemic waves.
Weekly new cases of the coronavirus have more than tripled over the past month, Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said Friday. Models suggest that if the current surge continues unabated, “we could conceivably have hundreds of people in the hospital by late December or early January,” he said.
J.K. Dineen is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org