Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted mandatory stay-home orders across California Monday as the surge of coronavirus cases that followed the holiday season begins receding.
The move will shift counties back into the color-coded reopening system and reopening will no longer be tied strictly to the number of available beds in intensive care units.
Now, with most counties statewide poised to reenter the purple tier, some activities like outdoor dining and personal-service businesses like nail salons will be allowed to resume. Individual counties can still impose stricter requirements, despite the relaxed mandate from the state.
“California is slowly starting to emerge from the most dangerous surge of this pandemic yet, which is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been hoping for,” said California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly.
“Seven weeks ago, our hospitals and front-line medical workers were stretched to their limits, but Californians heard the urgent message to stay home when possible and our surge after the December holidays did not overwhelm the health care system to the degree we had feared,” he said.
Mayor London Breed tweeted Monday morning that she expects San Francisco to return to the state’s purple tier. “We will be moving forward with some limited re-openings, including outdoor dining and personal services,” she said. More details on San Francisco’s reopening plans were expected to emerge during a news conference Monday afternoon.
With the statewide Stay Home Order being lifted, we expect San Francisco to return to the Purple Tier.
We will be moving forward with some limited re-openings, including outdoor dining and personal services.
— London Breed (@LondonBreed) January 25, 2021
Following a post-holiday surge, coronavrirus cases and hospitalizations have been decreasing across the state. ICU capacity in regions that remained under the stay-at-home orders as of Sunday — including the Bay Area and Southern California — are projected to rise above the 15% threshold that triggered the lockdown measures.
The decision comes more than six weeks after the Bay Area and nearly all of the state was placed under stringent stay-at-home orders due to the explosive spread of the virus in late November and early December.
Though the Dec. 3 stay-at-home order was statewide, it was not triggered unless ICU projections fell below 15%. Because of this, the state’s northernmost counties were never affected. Most Bay Area counties voluntarily moved into the lockdown condition on Dec. 6. But as of Saturday’s report from the state, the Bay Area’s ICU capacity was 23.4%.
News of the change first began circulating Sunday evening after the California Restaurant Association sent a letter to members saying it had received word from Newsom’s administration that the stay-at-home orders would be lifted. Several members passed the letter along to media outlets including The Chronicle.Vanessa Arredondo and Michael Williams are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers.