S.F. Mayor Says Indoor Malls, Non-Essential Offices to Close

Mayor London Breed

Mayor London Breed announced that San Francisco will roll back some business reopenings due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. Screenshot from SFGovTV

UPDATE: July 17, 2020. Adds embedded audio and timestamps to summary of key points from press conference.

Mayor London Breed announced this morning at a press conference that San Francisco would roll back some of its reopenings, closing indoor malls and non-essential offices on Monday.

S.F. has joined a list of  30 counties on the state watch list, due to the rapidly rising number of Covid cases. San Francisco has 4,795 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 52 deaths.

“As of today, we are on the state’s watch list because of the increases,” Breed said. “If conditions don’t improve, we can also choose to close additional businesses.”

As of Monday, private hospitals will also be subject to a health order requiring them to provide same-day testing to patients showing symptoms and to asymptomatic health workers in environments where they are likely to have been exposed to the virus. The city’s public test sites provide approximately 60% of all testing.

Major areas of spread include San Francisco’s southeast and east neighborhoods, where more people are returning to work. Mayor Breed said the city would be expanding access to testing in these areas and adding to targeted outreach for underserved groups.

Dr Grant Colfax, director of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health, said the recent increases could prevent schools reopening in the fall. He attributed the rise in cases to social gatherings, and called for people to continue to wear masks, wash their hands and social distance.

“It has taken just 13 days to go from 4,000 cases to nearly 5,000,” he said. “We know how to slow the spread of the virus, we just must do it and we must do it quickly.”

Other updates from today’s press conference:

  • San Francisco has 80 people in hospitals due to Covid, up from 26 in mid-June. (01:27)
  • Breed said that San Francisco is “continuing to pause every opening process indefinitely until our public health indicators improve.” (02:05)
  • “The main change is that indoor malls and non-essential offices must now also close,” said Breed. “If the state has more restrictions, we will of course follow them. And if conditions in our city don’t improve, we can also choose to close additional businesses and activities as well.” (02:38)
  • Breed said a new testing site was opened this week in Potrero Hill Health Center, adding to the recent efforts to expand testing sites in the Tenderloin, Mission, Sunnydale and Bayview. (05:45)
  • Colfax warned that younger people are falling sick due to coronavirus: the average age of newly hospitalized patients in San Francisco is 41 years old. (09:31)
  • Colfax said if the increase continues at this pace, reopenings could be further rolled back. “These gatherings can and could delay the first day of school, or the chance to go back to work, and worsen the inequities that we’re seeing in this pandemic.” (17:48)