Outdoor dining to return to SF Friday; indoor retail to resume Monday

Outdoor dining to return to SF Friday; indoor retail to resume Monday
Photo: Teresa Hammerl/Hoodline
By Teresa Hammerl - Published on June 09, 2020.

On Tuesday, Mayor London Breed announced the next wave of reopenings in San Francisco, as the city begins to ease out of its shelter-in-place order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The most notable change involves restaurants, which are allowed to reopen for sit-down outdoor dining service beginning this Friday, June 12 — provided they adhere to safety guidelines. 

The rules call for outdoor tables to be limited to six customers, unless they are members of the same household. People seated at the same table do not have to remain six feet apart, but they must wear a mask until they are seated and put it on any time they leave the table.

Customers will be allowed to use indoor restrooms, order at an indoor counter or walk through a dining room to get to an outdoor area. But sitting down to eat indoors is still verboten. 

"The next step of outdoor dining will rely on both restaurants and customers doing their part to take proper precautions, practice social distancing and ensure safety measures for staff," said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the SF Department of Public Health, in a statement.

Since few businesses in the city already have outdoor spaces, restaurants and retailers are being encouraged to apply to San Francisco's newly created Shared Spaces Program.

The program will expedite free permits for restaurants to use city sidewalks, parking lanes, streets, parks and plazas for outdoor dining (and pick-up). However, the permit will not allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors.

The permits will be awarded on a case-by-case basis, based on the impact on Muni and other city services. Once granted, they'll be valid until December 31, though the city retains the power to revoke them earlier than that. Retailers will also be able to apply to the program.

Breed also confirmed that retailers will be able to welcome customers indoors beginning Monday, June 15; more details will be released later this week.

As of Tuesday, San Francisco has seen 2,793 people test positive for COVID-19, while 44 have lost their lives to the virus.