Coronavirus Update: Mayor Breed says San Francisco is working to further reopen city 'responsibly'

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Mayor London Breed gave an update on the novel coronavirus in San Francisco and plans further reopening the city.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the second phase of reopening California will start as early as Friday, but it's up to local jurisdictions to make the final decision.

"We are not telling locals that believe it's too soon, too fast to modify. We believe those local communities that have separate timelines should be afforded the capacity to advance those timelines," he said, citing the Bay Area's "stricter guidelines."

RELATED: Gov. Newsom announces Stage 2 of reopening businesses starts as early as Friday

Businesses included in California's "Stage 2" of reopening will be allowed to resume operations starting Friday, May 8. are book stores, clothing stores, toy stores, florists and others. Associated manufacturers that support those retail supply chains will also be allowed to resume production.

Mayor Breed responded to Newsom's update saying, she believes the city can "definitely work to achieve that goal and get to a better place."

"I think its important that we provide some guidance, to be clear, the whole point of the health directive has everything to do with limiting our ability to be in contact with people so we can avoid not only transmitting the virus or contracting the virus," Breed said. "The ability to do that is critical, but we also realize there are a number of people out there who are struggling financially and if there is a way to accomplish the public health goals of keeping people safe with also allowing businesses to operate, but operate differently with certain guidelines."

When asked if San Francisco businesses and restaurants can open on Friday, Breed said the county public health officers will be working with the governor to reopen more businesses "safely and responsibly" while "sustaining the progress we made," but did not give a definitive date.

RELATED: Updated number of COVID-19 cases, deaths in San Francisco Bay Area

As of Monday afternoon, San Francisco County reports 1,624 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths

San Francisco's Director of the Department of Public Health. Dr. Grant Colfax shared the city has made significant progress in COVID-19 testing that over 25,160 people have been tested for the virus with an average of 9% of people testing positive for the virus.

The mayor announced on Twitter that COVID-19 testing will be available for all essential workers, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

The expanded testing went into effect Monday at sites on Seventh Street in the South of Market neighborhood and Piers 30-32 along the waterfront and applies to people like health care workers, first responders, grocery store employees, construction workers, drivers, child care workers, and anyone else who has to work with the public during the shelter-in-place order.

Because the testing is free, workers won't need to be referred to it by their doctor, according to the mayor's office.

"San Francisco's essential workers have kept our city going for months now during the pandemic response," Breed said in a statement. "They continue to show up every day, often at great personal risk, and I am so grateful to them. Now that we have our testing program established and are certain that we can test everyone with symptoms, we want to extend to them the opportunity to get tested more easily-for peace of mind and to take action if needed to protect themselves and their families."

"To achieve our goal of universal access, we have continually expanded testing, based on where the need is greatest, and the availability of resources," Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said.

"We focused first on people with symptoms -- in outbreaks, vulnerable populations, case contact investigations and among essential workers. As the circle keeps widening, we now can test more people without symptoms, including close contacts, residents and staff of skilled nursing
facilities and essential workers," he said.

Dr. Colfax also talked about the new eased shelter-in-place restrictions which have allowed some outdoor activities and businesses to resume. He encouraged people to send flowers to moms on Mother's Day since florists, nurseries and landscaping companies are some businesses allowed to resume.

RELATED: 6 Bay Area counties relax some shelter-in-place restrictions, certain businesses to reopen May 4

Over the weekend, Chief Willaim Scott said the city was prepared for more people to be outside during the good weather. Scott said the city observed crowds at Dolores Park and other popular parks gathering in large groups. Scott reminded people that it is not ok to have large gatherings with people from outside your household.

"We are seeing people having picnics, we are not at a point where we are relaxed to that level yet," Scott said. "We need to stay the course."

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Mayor Breed said if people continue to violate social distancing orders, they will close Dolores park. The city will continue to monitor the city's outdoor spaces this upcoming week.

Mayor Breed said if people continue to violate social distancing orders, they will close Dolores park. The city will continue to monitor the city's outdoor spaces this upcoming week.

Breed also addressed street cleaning and asked that people still heed to street cleaning times to keep the roads clean. There are still cleaners passing blocks at a time because people are not moving their cars, the mayor said.

"For those of you who are able-bodied and are not sick, and can get up and move your cars for street cleaning, I'm asking you to do that because otherwise, we will have no other choice but to begin to implement, reimplement our ticketing procedures around street cleaning before our orders expire," Breed said.

Mayor Breed reminded San Franciscans to not treat the public like they are law enforcement.

"Focus on yourself and what you're doing," Breed said as she clarified that wearing a face-covering is not needed while running outdoors. "Please do not police other people."

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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