San Francisco has set a 50-guest limit on City Hall weddings through March 20 to discourage mass gatherings, as 13 confirmed coronavirus cases have been detected in the city

Elijah Nouvelage/ReutersStacy Wood, left, and her wife Michele Barr leave San Francisco City Hall after getting married in San Francisco, California, June 26, 2015.
  • San Francisco is capping the number of guests at its City Hall weddings at 50 people amid the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The move is the result of a city order banning large events of 50 people or more at city-owned facilities, like City Hall and the San Francisco Public Library.
  • It’s one of the latest changes made to limit mass gatherings and practice social distancing as 13 confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease have been found in San Francisco.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

If you want to get married at San Francisco’s City Hall before March 20, you’ll have to limit your guest list to no more than 50 people.

The city of San Francisco just placed a ban on city-owned facilities hosting non-essential group events exceeding 50 people in attendance over coronavirus concerns. City Hall is one such facility affected by the order, which ends on March 20, but luckily for San Franciscans looking to tie the knot, you can still book weddings there.

A City Hall spokesperson told Business Insider that weddings are not cancelled at City Hall. There’s always a six-person limit on the number of guests that are allowed to attend the regular 30-minute civil ceremonies offered from 9 am to 3:30 pm, Monday to Friday. It costs $US90 to book one of the half-hour reservation slots.

But for the one-hour and two-hour wedding packages, up to 100 and 200 guests, respectively, are usually allowed. In light of the ban, however, a City Hall spokesperson confirmed that all events are being limited to less than 50 people, guests and vendors included. The one-hour wedding package is priced at $US1,000 for the private use of a City Hall room, with the two-hour package offered on Saturday and priced at $US5,000.

The accommodation is just one of the many that San Francisco, and other cities across the world, have had to make as the coronavirus disease, known as COVID-19, continues to spread.


The city began making preparations for the virus on February 25.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderSan Francisco’s ‘East Cut’ neighbourhood.

Mayor London Breed declared a state of emergency in late February, which made it easier to allocate resources and funds to address a potential outbreak.


There are now 13 confirmed coronavirus cases in San Francisco.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

Five of those were confirmed Monday, according to city officials. They have been quarantined in their home and are in good condition.

On March 5, two confirmed cases were found to likely be the result of community spread, meaning the virus is likely being transmitted throughout the city.

Source: CBS San Francisco


Some offices are closing temporarily, and companies are asking employees to work from home in an attempt to contain the disease.

Katie Canales/Business InsiderSlack’s San Francisco headquarters.

Source: Business Insider


Tech conferences in San Francisco and beyond have been cancelled, and tech companies have banned non-essential travel.

Jane Tyska/MediaNews Group/The Mercury News via Getty ImagesModerator John Donvan, left, is introduced by Director of IBM Research Dario Gil during IBM’s Think 2019 conference at the Yerba Buena Centre for the Arts in San Francisco, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019.

Source: Business Insider


The ban on large events held in city-owned facilities went into effect on March 7.

Katie Canales/Business Insider

A “non-essential group event” is defined as a gathering of 50 people for social, cultural, or entertainment events “where people are not separated by physical space of at least four feet,” or about arm’s length, according to NBC Bay Area.

The facilities affected by the order include City Hall, the San Francisco Public Library, the Palace of Fine Arts Theatre, and Moscone Centre, a venue in the city’s SOMA district where many tech conferences are usually held. Symphony events and ballet performances are among the events being cancelled, and the city’s upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been postponed.

While events are being cancelled, these venues are still allowed to remain open.


Events not organised by the city are also following suit, like San Francisco’s monthly non-sexual cuddle party that was slated for March 14.

Chip East CME/ReutersCuddle Party cofounder Reid Mihalko at a Cuddle Party on August 11, 2004 in New York.

These events are intimate, non-sexual gatherings lasting three to four hours where strangers meet, practice consent, and enjoy human touch.

The organiser of the Cuddle Party organisation’s San Francisco branch, Dr. Yoni Alkan, told Business Insider that the March event is the only one to be cancelled “for now” in an effort to follow the city’s recommendation to avoid mass gatherings and practice social distancing.


There are at least 760 confirmed cases in the US, with 27 reported deaths.

One of them was an elderly person in Sacramento, California, about 90 miles east of San Francisco. The person had just returned from a cruise aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship, where 21 passengers have since been tested for and confirmed to have been infected by the virus. The ship docked Monday in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco. Crew members will remain on the ship, sick passengers will be taken to hospital, and the rest will head to US military bases for 14-day quarantines.

The Grand Princess is not to be confused with the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship whose passengers were quarantined first onboard in Japan and then at the Travis Air Force Base in Fairfield on the outskirts of the Bay Area.

Source: Business Insider

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