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How SF is dealing with coronavirus: Closures, transit updates, and more

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Here’s what you need to know

View of tents in painted squares on a once-busy street.
Aerial view of painted squares as temporary sanctioned tent encampment for the homeless across from City Hall.
Photo by Liu Guanguan/China News Service via Getty Images

As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, precautions like social distancing, event cancellation, and even panic shopping are underway. In San Francisco denizens have taken to working from home and staying away from public gatherings in an effort to combat the potential transmission of the virus.

San Francisco was one of the first U.S. cities to declare a coronavirus emergency in mid-February. There’s a total of 90,631 confirmed cases in California as of Friday.

Here’s how things are going down in SF, including closures, public transportation provisions, and updates on major gatherings. For more information on school closures and the impact on the restaurant industry, check out San Francisco Chronicle and Eater SF.


Mayor London Breed announced tentative timeline of openings. The city detailed which businesses and activities can resume with modifications in phases over the coming weeks and months.

Phase 2A – June 1

  • Child care
  • Botanical gardens
  • Outdoor museums and historical sites
  • Outdoor curbside retail for services with minimal contact (shoe repair, dog grooming, etc.)

Phase 2B – June 15

  • Most indoor retail
  • Outdoor dining
  • Summer camps
  • Private household indoor services
  • Religious services and ceremonies
  • Outdoor exercise classes
  • Professional sports games, tournaments, and other entertainment venues with no spectators
  • Non-emergency medical appointments

Phase 2C – July 13

  • Indoor dining with modifications
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Real estate open houses (by appointment only)

San Francisco way behind filling empty hotel rooms for homeless population. According to state and city data, care of KTVU, less than half of the hotel rooms set aside for shelterless people are occupied. “As of last week, 1,011 of 2,678 rooms—or roughly 37 percent—were filled in San Francisco,” says the news outlet. SF also spent an estimated $500,000 on recreational vehicles to house homeless residents during the pandemic, vehicles that have yet to be used.

New mask mandates. Starting Saturday, SF is getting new mask laws: You must wear them indoors and out if you’re within 30 feet of another person.

Streets close to vehicular traffic. In an effort to give pedestrians a wider buffer of space while outside during shelter-in-place orders, San Francisco officials closed a dozen streets to through traffic to keep them open for pedestrians, cyclists, and local traffic. Here’s a list of the streets closed.

Muni increases bus frequency on eight bus lines. Muni ramped up service on the following lines: 8 Bayshore, 14R Mission Rapid, 22 Fillmore, 38R Geary Rapid, 49 Van Ness/Mission, N Bus , and T Bus. The 9R San Bruno bus was also restored.

Most retail reopened, but in a limited capacity. Earlier in May, Mayor London Breed announced that retail would be allowed to reopen in a limited capacity, “as long as local hospitals do not see an unexpected surge in hospitalizations over the weekend,” according to SFGate. Customers will not be allowed in stores. Instead, curbside sales will be available. And, sorry, no malls will be allowed to open just yet.

All public libraries and indoor recreation centers remain closed. Libraries will turn into temporary youth facilities that will help with homework for grades 6th though 12th, Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Recreation and Park facilities (e.g., clubhouses and rec centers) will close and turn into childcare centers for kids in grades kindergarten through 5th grade.

City issues moratorium on gatherings of more than 100 people. “This new order is an important measure to support public health,” said Mayor London Breed. “We need everyone to follow the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID‑19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and the state, and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. We know cancelling events and gatherings is a challenge for everyone, but it is essential that we take this step.”

The San Francisco Department of Public Health also recommends that organizations that serve vulnerable populations nix gatherings of more than 10 people.

All events with more than 1,000 people canceled. “We know that this order is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health,” said Mayor Breed. “We’re following the recommendations of public health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. This order mirrors actions being taken by other local governments and is informed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. We know cancelling these events is a challenge for everyone and we’ve been talking with venues and event organizers about the need to protect public health. Today I spoke with the Warriors to discuss the steps we’re taking to cancel large events and they are in support of our efforts.”

Meanwhile, Gov. Gavin Newsom has recommended all Californians cancel or postpone all events of more than 250 people.

San Francisco LGBTQ Pride: Canceled.

Burning Man: Also canceled.

BART deploying hand sanitizers at all stations. BART, which will remain open, will add hand sanitizers in all 48 stations for all riders, with at least one dispenser mounted in the paid area.

Muni closed all subway light-rail service: On March 30, all Muni metro and light-rail routes will be replaced by buses during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order. This means that all light-rail trains, which service underground and above ground routes, will cease operating until further notice.

A male bike rider on a nearly empty street.
A cyclist rides down a nearly empty Folsom Street on Thursday.
Photo by AP Photo/Juliet Williams

San Francisco to bar evictions based on COVID-19 issues. Mayor London Breed announced a moratorium on residential evictions related to financial impacts caused by COVID-19 on Friday. “The moratorium will prevent any resident from being evicted due to a loss of income related to a business closure, loss of hours or wages, layoffs, or out-of-pocket medical costs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The eviction moratorium will be in effect for 30 days, and can be extended for another 30 days if needed.

Major league sports canceled. The Warriors will play a home game at Chase Center without fans tonight. After this evening’s game, all NBA games have been suspended until further notice. The Giants nixed their March 24 annual exhibition game against the Oakland A’s at Oracle Park. Oakland has also banned major athletic games and concerts.

Museums closed. Asian Arts Museum, DeYoung, the Fine Arts Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Oakland Museum of California, the California Academy of Sciences, and the Exploratorium will remain closed until further notice.

Airports are open. Despite a ban on travel from Europe, both San Francisco International Airport and Oakland International Airport are open. Contact your airline for updates on flights.

Winchester Mystery House reopens May 15. One of the world’s most famous Victorians, the Winchester Mystery House, opens again for self-guided tours.

Working from home. A slew of local companies, including Vox Media, have asked employees to telecommute in lieu of going into an office. Here are some choice tips on how to work from home without hurting your back—or losing your mind.