San Francisco officials released a set of guidelines Friday meant to help make social interactions as safe as possible as the city prepares to begin gradually reopening its economy and permitting activities that have been off-limits for months during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city’s stay-home order is still in effect, but officials have recognized the near-inevitability that people will want to begin seeing family, friends and others outside their households again, especially with a broader set of activities — like indoor retail and outdoor restaurant dining — starting June 15.
“Staying home continues to be the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19,” San Francisco Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said in a statement. “We recognize that as the stay home order continues, following it can be hard on San Franciscans’ mental health. Our hope is that these guidelines can help all of us make smart decisions about balancing the risks and benefits of limited interactions with people outside our households.”
Despite the city’s success in keeping the number of new infections relatively low, arranging dinner parties or playdates still carries a degree of risk. City health officials urge people to first consider whether they or anyone they’re seeing are particularly vulnerable to getting seriously ill if they contract COVID-19, namely people over the age of 60 or living with chronic health conditions like diabetes or lung disease.
After that, social interactions can be made safer if they’re conducted outdoors, with face coverings and with everyone maintaining 6 feet of distance from one another.
People should also avoid sharing any objects, like eating utensils or toys. And overall, the number of households intermingling at any one time should be kept to a minimum. Anyone not feeling well — particularly with COVID-19 symptoms, like a fever or cough — should stay home.
“Connecting with friends and family is one of the ways we will get through this health crisis together, but we have to be smart and vigilant,” Mayor London Breed said.
“San Franciscans have made enormous sacrifices in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and as we gradually and safely reopen the city, we must follow all of the guidance from our health experts to keep the progress going.”