SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- On Feb. 1, San Francisco will become the first Bay Area city to end indoor mask requirements for office workers, gym members and other stable cohorts of people, but everyone needs to be fully vaccinated and boosted when eligible.
The owner of The Yard a reservation based gym in San Francisco has learned a key lesson during the pandemic.
"To roll with the punches and make the best of the circumstances that are dealt to us," said Joe Cicero the owner of "The Yard."
He is now gearing up to pivot again.
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"Everyone who steps in here is fully vaccinated. When the mask mandate is lifted on Tuesday we will not require folks to wear a mask. If folks are comfortable doing that they are more than welcome to do it," said Cicero. His gym offers members personal weightlifting "pods" by the hour.
San Francisco is taking this step due to the high vaccination rate. 82% of San Franciscans are fully vaccinated.
"We are reaping those benefits now," said Daniel Herstein, Director of Public Policy at the SF Chamber of Commerce, and added, "We know that San Francisco downtown desperately needs these back in the offices."
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is reporting a drop of 20% in foot traffic in downtown since omicron. Now, they're hoping this change will encourage major companies to go back to the office.
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"Folks will be coming back to the office whether is 5 days a week or frankly in many cases I think a couple days a week," said Herstein.
Jeff Marples is the managing broker and partner of Marker Luxury Properties. He believes it will take some time for his coworkers in their San Francisco office to feel comfortable removing the mask.
"It depends if somebody wants to or feels like they want to have that extra level of protection then we'll accommodate. I think it comes down to the individual making sure they are comfortable," said Marples.
San Francisco is also allowing people who are unvaccinated due to religious or medical reasons to enter a mega event of at least 500 people if they wear a mask and test beforehand.
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