'We're forced to furlough staff again': San Francisco's purple tier pivot brings stress to businesses, churches

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- New purple tier COVID-19 restrictions took effect Sunday in San Francisco.

San Francisco Catholic Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone ended the last indoor, in-person mass for a while at St. Mary's Cathedral -- he wasn't pleased.

"We're a sacramental church, you can't live stream holy communion," said Cordileone.

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Cordileone understands the city's move to purple tier means an end to indoor worship but he says the church has proven it can safely social distance in a cathedral which normally seats 2,500 people.

"It's hard to have one policy for all churches, I'd like to see a policy that errs on the side of safety but also respects our first amendment rights to worship in a safe way," he added.

The Archbishop doesn't rule out a legal challenge to the restrictions.

Gyms must close or operate outdoors, but that's almost impossible for Planet Granite indoor climbing gym in the Presidio, that's now forced to make tough choices for the second time.

"It's going to force us to furlough the staff again, hopefully, the shutdown won't last as long as the previous one," said gym director Joey Luna.

Gym member Antonio Majia added, "It makes sense with the current COVID climate it has to close again, it's sad, rock climbing is a community sport."

RELATED: 'It's a total bummer': San Francisco, San Mateo counties move to purple tier amid COVID-19 case surge
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COVID-19 cases are surging in San Mateo County, that's why the county will move to the state's most restrictive Purple tier on Monday night. It comes at a time when many retailers are already struggling.



In Golden Gate Park, top attractions like the De Young Museum and California Academy of Sciences are locked up tight due to the health order. The new SkyStar Observation Wheel has stopped turning, closed temporarily after debuting only last month.

"I feel so sad, I came to see the attraction, closed because of (the) pandemic," said Gloria Fabian from San Francisco.

Many know their favorite spots will return. For now, it's time to pay attention and help flatten that curve.

"I think people who aren't wearing masks need to be mindful, people are dying," said Jenny Kwak from San Bruno.

A mandatory 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew begins in San Francisco Monday.

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