SAN FRANCISCO (AFP, BLOOMBERG) - A surge in coronavirus cases will put San Francisco under a curfew beginning on Monday (Nov 30) and trigger other restrictions related to the virus, the city announced.
The curfew requires non-essential businesses to close and prohibits members of different households from gathering between 10pm and 5am until Dec 21, Mayor London Breed said on Saturday.
San Mateo county outside San Francisco will also be subject to the same rules after the state of California classified both under its most restrictive tier of locations based on the spread of the virus.
In addition to the curfew, new restrictions will also kick off on Sunday, starting with the closure of movie theatres, gyms, museums, zoos and aquariums, and even houses of worship - a move resisted by Los Angeles last Friday.
The capacity at indoor stores, including pharmacies, will be cut by half to 25 per cent.
Outdoor entertainment activities including carousels, ferris wheels, train rides and trampolines will also be shut, though playgrounds, mini-golf, skate parks and batting cages can still operate.
Schools that have already opened will be able to stay open.
"I don't know how to be more clear - this is the most dangerous time we've faced during this pandemic," Ms Breed said on Twitter.
"Do not travel or gather with others. We have to get this under control now and we can't afford to let things continue at this rate."
The move is hitting San Francisco just as Thanksgiving kicked off the holiday season, with an expected increase in travel and retail activity. The city also advised its residents against leaving the county and recommended a 14-day quarantine for anyone who has travelled out of the state.
Last Friday, a temporary ban on gatherings of people from different households, with religious services and protests exempt, was announced for California's largest city, Los Angeles.
That order affecting the United States' second-largest city will take effect on Monday and last at least three weeks, until Dec 20, Los Angeles county's public health department said.
California imposed a night-time curfew across much of the state a week ago, but San Francisco was not affected because it was not at the time classified among the state's most restrictive tier of locations.
San Francisco county has had more than 15,000 coronavirus cases and 160 deaths, much lower than many other parts of California. In all, the state has had more than 1.1 million Covid-19 cases and over 19,000 deaths.
The United States last Friday topped 13 million Covid-19 cases - the world's highest - and President-elect Joe Biden has warned of difficult weeks ahead before vaccines become widely available.