Coronavirus regulations: City leaders explain what shelter in place means for SF public transportation

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ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Tuesday, March 17, 2020
Coronavirus regulations: City leaders explain what shelter in place means for SF public transportation
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SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- San Francisco City leaders shared critical information Monday night about how Bay Area residents can commute during the shelter-in-place order and how the city plans to shelter sick homeless people in hotels.

A public health officer reminded everyone, that the purpose of the three week shelter-in-place and the sacrifices Bay Area residents will make, is to preserve the capacity of the health care system, and to take care of health care workers, who still need to work.

Empty BART trains during Monday's evening commute left plenty of room for social distancing.

RELATED: Everything you need to know about the San Francisco Bay Area's shelter-in-place order

It was same story on the platforms - San Francisco's usually crowded Embarcadero Station was virtually empty.

But, BART will continue regular service during the shelter-in-place, to ensure essential workers, like health care providers, can get to work.

"If you're sick, BART is asking that you not ride BART," said Robert Powers, BART's General Manager.

SFMTA is rearranging muni service to better serve the city's critical healthcare facilities.

RELATED: What is it like to be tested for coronavirus? SF family tells their story

They're also making parking a little easier for everyone.

"We are suspending enforcement of residential parking permits, peak hour tow aways, and parking for longer than 72 hours. We will however need to continue enforcement of rules related to public health, safety and the accessibility of services. This includes street cleaning, blocking of bike lanes, double parking, and parking in transit only lanes. Meters will be continued to be enforced because our businesses will still be open," explained Jeffrey Tumlin, SFMTA's director of transportation.

BART and SFMTA are updating their website with service changes related to coronavirus and the shelter-in-place order.

Trent Rhorer, the director of San Francisco's Human Services Agency, is working on quarantine plans for homeless people as well as those living in communal spaces, like shelters and single room occupancy hotels.

"Homeless individuals who come in to get tested at the hospitals, we don't want to take up valuable bed space in our hospital for someone just awaiting a test," said Rhorer.

On Monday night, Rhorer's department was renting hotel rooms for 30 homeless people recently tested for coronavirus. With nowhere else to quarantine, they are in hospitals, even though they don't require hospitalization.

RELATED: Get resources and information about COVID-19

Rhorer hopes the city can rent another 400 rooms in small San Francisco hotels by the end of the week, and he's making plans for 3,500 quarantine rooms, which could include some of the city's larger hotels.

Rhorer said he is scheduled to meet with San Francisco's Hotel Council on Wednesday and said that Governor Newsom's executive order allows the government to commandeer hotels.

The purpose - to preserve the city's hospital beds for the critically ill.

The San Francisco Sheriff's Department is postponing all scheduled evictions.

SFPD said starting at midnight, they will deploy extra police in patrol cars, on bicycles and on foot.

He said to expect extra patrols in business districts. SFPD does not want to issue citations to people who disobey the shelter in place order, so they hope everyone complies and cooperates with the order.