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By Karen

Updated October 13, 2023.

Status of Covid 19 Restrictions in San Francisco

Helpful information on the current status of Covid vaccination requirements and masking rules in San Francisco, plus what's open in the City.

History of Covid in San Francisco

At midnight on Monday, March 16, 2020, San Francisco was placed under a "shelter-in-place" order.

All residents were ordered to stay home, except for necessary trips to grocery stores and essential medical visits, and solo outdoor activities like hiking.

The city was gradually reopening many businesses and activities, but in December, 2020, came under another strict, stay-at-home directive, due to a sudden increase in infection and hospitalization rates.

Since then, Covid numbers dropped significantly, but rose again when Omicron hit, then dropped again. They are fairly low now.

Big changes arrived June 15, 2021:    California was "fully reopened", meaning all business sectors  reopened to full or almost full capacity, including concerts, stadium sports and festivals. SF since then has been basically open, though somewhat more cautious in some regards than other locations.

Vaccination Requirements

SF no longer requires that restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms check for proof of vaccination, but they can choose to require it, so check each venue individually.

Documents accepted: paper or digital vaccination records.

Masking Rules

Mask rules: as of September 15, 2022, no one is now required to wear a mask indoors in SF, whether vaccinated or not. The exception: healthcare settings and nursing homes.

Public Transportation

Public transportation options had been cut back, but are expanding again. See SF transit for more info. Masks are no longer required on public transit;  vaccination is not required.

The cable cars are running again. 

Travel to San Francisco

There are no quarantine requirements for travelers to SF.

Masks are no longer required inside the SF airport.

Hotels are accepting reservations, but travelers are urged to limit contact with others in the hotel.

What's Open in the City?

Pretty much everything, now.

Muir Woods, the Botanic Gardens, Golden Gate Park, Japanese Tea Garden, Pier 39, SF beaches, Golden Gate Bridge, most museums, and Twin Peaks are all open.

Restaurants can now be open to full capacity for indoor as well as outdoor dining, and many restaurants are open for take-out or delivery. 

Bars that serve food can serve customers indoors.

Businesses can allow customers inside, up to full capacity. Malls are open.

The SF Zoo is open again.

Offices: can reopen up to full capacity.

Hair salons, and open air tour buses, outdoor walking tours, and boat cruises can now operate.

Indoor museums are open, including the California Academy of Sciences. 

Exploratorium:  open.

Playgrounds: open.

Schools: public and private schools are open. SF public schools started in-person learning for all students last fall. Masks are no longer required for students in SF public or private schools.

Indoor gyms and indoor movie theaters are open to full capacity.

Indoor swimming pools are open to full capacity.

Alcatraz Island

Alcatraz is open. The Day Tours, Night Tours and Behind the Scene Tours are all running now. The Cell Block is open also.

No proof of vaccination is required for the Alcatraz tours.

Masking is not required, but is recommended, for the boat ride over, the dock area and indoor areas. See Alcatraz.

Events & Entertainment

Indoor concerts, live theater, and sporting events, may open at full capacity.

The requirement to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test for Mega Events (indoor gatherings of >1,000 or outdoor events for >10,000) was lifted April 1, 2022.

However, individual venues are allowed to require proof of vaccination, proof of a  recent negative test, or masking, so check individual events for requirements. Even if they are not required, many places are still strongly recommending masking so you may see many people wearing masks.

For example, the San Francisco Opera is just now (as of Feb 1, 2023) dropping the vaccination and masking requirements for attending.

Napa and Sonoma county wineries are open.

Resources for Current Information

See COVID rules for current SF status.

See coronavirus news in the SF Chronicle for articles and updates.

And to check the air quality (fires) in SF and the Bay Area, see airnow.gov.