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January 4, 2021

How to Experience San Francisco Safely: What's Open

COVID Status: Purple (Widespread)

December 31, 2020 - Mayor London N. Breed and Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax today announced a public health order that places a mandatory quarantine of 10 days on anyone traveling, moving, or returning to San Francisco from anywhere outside the Bay Area. Limited exceptions apply to people who are traveling for certain critical activities. The new order also strongly discourages any non-essential travel within the 10-county Bay Area region. At this time, it is imperative we all stay home. You can read the health order in full here. The local stay-at-home order and travel quarantine have been extended beyond January 4, 2021.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced earlier this week that the new measure of severity in this crisis would be the amount of available ICU beds in five distinct regions of the state. The governor’s order calls for tougher restrictions when ICU bed capacity drops below 15%.

While San Francisco and the Bay Area have not yet met the governor's threshold, Mayor London Breed announced today that San Francisco would be voluntarily implementing those restrictions in an effort to stave off a future surge of the pandemic. Effective this Sunday, Dec. 6 at 10 p.m., the following businesses and activities must temporarily cease all operations:

  • Personal services, including hair and nail salons, barbershops, tattoo parlors, and massage businesses
  • Outdoor dining (but take-out and delivery may continue)
  • Outdoor museums, aquariums, and zoos
  • Outdoor performances and drive-in movies
  • Deployment of battery-operated sprayers and all-surface cleaning equipment for specialized and as-needed cleaning requirements.
  • Several hand sanitizer stations located throughout the terminals
  • Open-air bus and boat charters and tours

All retail businesses may continue to operate, but must reduce their capacities to 20% and must begin to track the flow of customers in and out of their establishment to ensure compliance. Low contact retail, such as pet grooming, electronics or shoe repair services, may only operate in a curbside drop-off context.

As part of these new rules, San Francisco hotels may only accept reservations for essential workers or local residents needing to quarantine outside of their homes. These new restrictions are expected to last through Jan. 4, 2021.

Several San Francisco businesses have also released safety and cleanliness pledges to ensure that you are comfortable when you are able to visit. We hope you'll do your part to keep yourself and our residents safe, too.



Masks and face coverings are required indoors and outdoors and practice social distancing of at least six feet apart from other people. Frequently washing yours hands is highly recommended.


San Francisco International Airport has pioneered the practice of traveling well. Upgraded cleaning procedures, protective barriers, numerous hand sanitizer stations and mandated mask-wearing throughout the terminals protect your safety.


At this time, San Francisco's legendary attractions are temporarily closed. They've all spent time carefully adjusting their operating procedures to protect visitor health while still providing an unforgettable experience, which will continue when they are allowed to reopen. 


San Francisco's hotels are open, but are only allowed to accept essential travelers at this time. Individual properties are implementing their own policies around capacity, cleaning, and available amenities. Contact your hotel of choice to learn how they are keeping guests safe.


San Francisco restaurants are permitted to offer only takeout or delivery.


Special gatherings may only be held outdoors and may not exceed 12 persons. San Francisco Travel is working with City and State policymakers to establish guidelines for future events. For more information regarding upcoming Meetings & Conventions, please contact our Convention Sales department.


San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and Transportation

As San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area reopens, the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is looking to welcome visitors back and ensure that the safety and health of passengers is their top priority. In an effort to ensure that passengers feel comfortable traveling and workers safe, SFO continues to enhance the airport and their cleaning procedures. They have implemented the following health protocols:

  • Everyone must wear a mask or facial covering while at SFO.
  • Physical Distancing practices are in effect at the Airport. Please keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others. To help maintain proper spacing, we’ve installed markers in queuing and seating areas.
  • Public health signage is posted in areas throughout the airport, including messaging encouraging social distancing and frequent hand washing.
  • increased the cleaning of touch points such as handrails, buttons and door handles with an EPA-approved effective germicidal agent that kills all coronaviruses and is outlined in CDC recommendations for cleaning and disinfection.
  • Deployment of battery-operated sprayers and all-surface cleaning equipment for specialized and as-needed cleaning requirements.
  • Several hand sanitizer stations located throughout the terminals
  • SFO staff have been actively working to make air travel less stressful by reducing the amount of background noise that travelers are exposed to inside the terminals.

No matter how you get around San Francisco, you can trust that the transportation partners are taking extra precautions for a clean and safe journey.



San Francisco offers a range of hotels and accommodations in neighborhoods across the City. Hotels are committed to providing the world-class hospitality you’ve come to know and love, as well as a safe environment that aligns with expert protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Guests are encouraged to check with individual properties for specific cleaning and safety measures, but all major hotels have released COVID safety protocols. We hope you've missed us because we can't wait to welcome you back. Before you come, here are a few things to be aware of so that you can visit safely.


The Moscone Center

The Moscone Center team continues to actively seek clear direction from state and local officials relative to the capacities and protocols they can expect at the time of re-opening the convention center. The dedicated team at Moscone Center is pleased to share some of the initiatives they have already undertaken to help ensure a safe and healthy environment in anticipation of that reactivation. For an entire list of current initiatives and ongoing work being performed by their team, please click below.



Northern California has robust agriculture, providing top-quality ingredients to the chefs of our city year-round. Even now, under the current situation, people in San Francisco can dine on some of the best food in the world, as the city’s restaurants retool their culinary excellence for take-out and delivery service.


Major Attractions

Because San Francisco moved into the purple tier in the State of California reopening bluelprint, city attractions are only temporarily closed through January 4, 2021.


They may not be the hot and sunny kind that Southern California is known for, but San Francisco has no shortage of beaches. If you’re looking for a beautiful outdoor excursion where you can keep your distance, San Francisco’s beaches offer breathtaking views as well as plenty of hiking, surfing, relaxing and more.



With more than 220 parks and open spaces, the possibilities for experiencing the great outdoors in San Francisco are endless.



For a city that’s easy to navigate without a car, there’s a lot of driving—and putting—in San Francisco. Here's our round-up of great golf courses both public and private, within and beyond San Francisco city limits.



If you're ready to go beyond regular walking tours and actually hike through San Francisco and beyond, we've got options and space for everyone. One specific option is the new Crosstown Trail, which offers you the chance to bike, hike, and run along a 17-mile route that crosses diagonally through San Francisco. Venture through some of the neighborhoods, parks, and cultural sites that make this city special.


Additional Resources

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