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Offices and Outdoor Bars Reopen in SF and Two Other Bay Area Counties

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Outdoor bars?? Yes, please! 

The sun is shining Tuesday with news that San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties have all been moved to the orange tier in the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Not only are bars finally permitted to operate outdoors without food service, but indoor dining will also get a capacity bump with the new tier designation, now up to 50 percent.

Under the eased restrictions expected to roll out over Wednesday and Thursday, non-essential offices can reopen at 25 percent capacity — the same limits will now also apply to indoor gyms and fitness classes.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at a press conference Tuesday that she’s tired of working from home, adding:

“I think most people can agree, working from home is boring.”

While not everyone will share her zest for returning to the office grind, at least the orange tier also brings with it expanded opportunities to have some fun and blow off a little steam.

Indoor entertainment facilities, like movie theaters and museums, will now permit up 50 percent capacity at one time. Churches and other places of worship can now also fill half their available seats.

Retailers may be celebrating the shift the most, with the new guidance bumping up the capacity from 50 to 100 percent.

San Francisco, Marin and Santa Clara counties move into the orange tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy Tuesday, March 23, 2021. (Graphic courtesy of California Department of Public Health)

Lassen, Trinity and Yolo counties were also moved over to the less-restrictive orange tier Tuesday.

Alameda County is expecting a move as early as March 31. With Solano and Contra Costa counties expanding vaccination eligibility to all residents age 50 and older, it’s logical to assume those areas will soon follow suit into the orange tier. 

The orange tier marks the halfway point in the state’s blueprint, which is made possible by declining case numbers and increased vaccination rates. This is certainly good news for struggling businesses and bored residents, though we haven’t yet reached levels of herd immunity, meaning that the progress made is fragile. 

Continuing to wear masks, especially in light of rampant variant spread, and social distancing when required can help keep things on track toward the yellow tier, under which people will actually see the inside of bars again. 





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Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Nik Wojcik - East Bay Editor

Journalist, editor, student, single mom to a pack of wolves, foodie, music lover, resident smart ass, and champion of vulgarity and human kindness.