SAN FRANCISCO—On Thursday, December 10, the San Francisco Department of Public Health updated its stay-at-home order so residents can visit one person outside their household.

On the department’s website, residents can now “meet with 1 other person who doesn’t live with you” by taking walks, hanging out at parks, and playing “low-contact sports like golf, tennis, pickleball, and bocce ball” without sharing equipment.

The update comes after health officials were criticized for being too restrictive.  The original order informed San Franciscans not to gather with anyone outside their household.

San Francisco Board of Supervisor Matt Haney indicated on Twitter that the original order was “obviously ridiculous, unrealistic, extreme, so much so people wouldn’t understand or follow it.”

After the December 10 update, Haney tweeted “this is a change,”  but warned that public health orders must be “connected to reality or they will increasingly be ignored completely.”

The new update occurred after California health officials were criticized for closing playgrounds during the state’s regional stay-at-home order.  They allowed playgrounds to reopen on Thursday, December 10.

California Governor Gavin Newsom introduced a regional stay-at-home order on December 3 and divided the state into five regions: Northern California, the Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, Southern California, and San Joaquin Valley.

On Twitter, the governor said that the stay-at-home order applied to “regions where ICU [Intensive Care Unit] capacity have fallen below 15 percent.”

Currently, three regions are under the stay-at-home order: Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley, and Southern California.  The three regions make up the majority of California residents.

San Francisco, which is located in the Bay Area, is not under a stay-at-home order.  Mayor London Breed voluntary joined the order on December 6 due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Health officials predicted that if this trend continues in San Francisco, there will be no more ICU beds around December 27, two days after Christmas.

More than 300,000 Americans lost their lives from the coronavirus, with more than 20,000 from the state of California.

“The loss is so large that it’s hard to comprehend.  Every one of them was someone’s family member, someone’s friend,” said Mayor Breed on Twitter.

A vaccine was recently given emergency use authorization (EUA) by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) last week.  Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday, December 13.

As of Monday, December 14 at 11 a.m., the state of California has 1,585,044 coronavirus cases and a total of 21,046 died from the virus. More than 27.5 million tests have been given since the start of the pandemic in March.