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San Francisco to end Covid emergency declaration

San Francisco is ending its Covid emergency declaration on Feb. 28. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

San Francisco will end its Covid public health emergency declaration on Feb. 28 alongside the state of California, the Department of Public Health said on Thursday.

While this announcement would rescind many of the masking orders that have been in effect over the past three years, San Francisco is instituting new policies to still require masking for staff in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and other health care and jail settings.

The general public will no longer be required to wear masks in health care facilities or jails and neither staff nor will the public need to mask in homeless shelters unless required by operators.

The pullback is in line with larger efforts to move past the pandemic emergency as vaccinations and treatments have been introduced. Last month, the city announced it would be permanently closing a number of its free testing sites due to declining demand. The Biden Administration plans to end its federal Covid emergency on May 11.

The Covid pandemic has led to the death of 1,153 San Franciscans and more than 193,000 confirmed cases of infection to date.

“While the ending of the public health emergency declaration and
health orders does not mean the end of COVID-19, we are in a better place than we were three years ago, and the effective tools we now have such as at-home tests, vaccines, boosters and treatments will continue to save lives,” San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Susan Philip said in a statement.