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COVID Curfew: San Francisco Braces For Move Into Purple Tier And Wave Of Renewed Restrictions

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The San Francisco Health Department says the city is in the middle of a dramatic surge - cases are rising faster than ever.

The numbers have quadrupled over the past few days.

"SF is in the red tier and not immediately impacted by the order," said SF Public Health Department Director Dr. Grant Colfax. "However, our trajectory could have us in the purple tier as early as Sunday. At that point we will need to abide by the shelter-in-place order."

UC San Francisco said its COVID admissions on Thursday were double the average.

"Even though we were doing really well, it's only a matter of time before we catch up," said UCSF Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. "There's been increasing travel the week before Thanksgiving, there were the political celebrations, all these things make it such that our numbers are going up."

The goal of the state-imposed curfew would be to discourage activity.

"People need to move around less, avoid the gatherings, keep those masks on, this is not the time to travel," said Colfax.

Since the beginning of October, the city has experienced a steep increase in the rate of cases.

"Importantly, this rate of increase is higher than we experienced during our summer surge of cases," he added.

The impending shelter-in-place order means that for restaurants like Wayfare Tavern in the Financial District won't be able to accommodate late diners, as it's happy to do now. Currently, they allow guests to linger past closing time at 10 p.m.

"Financially, what does it do to us? It doesn't help us," said General Manager and Partner Tony Marcell. "Speaking on behalf of the restaurant community, it's another notch in the belt of things that make it challenging for us to survive."

Wayfare Tavern says pre-COVID they would typically have 230 reservations on a busy night. On Friday night with just outdoor dining, it did about 90. It expects that number to drop slightly with the potential curfew.

"They always say nothing good happens after 2 a.m., and at this point I think nothing good happens after 10 pm," said diner Kila Bailey. "Because if people have some drinks, they're not going to keep their mask on, they're not going to stay in a small group, and I think we need to be safe."

Jon Sanders of Dublin, who was visiting San Francisco Friday evening, says he hopes the curfew sends an urgent message to residents.

"Being that this is the second time we're going through this... people will be more accustomed to it and understand like 'Hey, let's take this seriously,'" he said. "But obviously you're going to have people who aren't going to abide by it."

San Francisco resident Soubhik Dawn believes the curfew is a good move.

"Personally, I'm not going out after 10 pm anyway, ever since the pandemic has started, so I don't think it'll impact me," he said.

The city said San Francisco could move to the Purple Tier as soon as Sunday, and then the curfew would likely be implemented within 48 hours.

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