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Friday, September 18, 2020

Contact: Mayor’s Office of Communications,  



San Francisco is working with the local restaurant industry to develop a standardized health and safety plan and protocols to help restaurants prepare for reopening

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed, Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health, and Assessor-Recorder Carmen Chu, co-Chair of the City’s Economic Recovery Task Force, today announced San Francisco’s plan for reopening indoor dining. San Francisco will move forward with indoor dining at 25% capacity, up to 100 people, once classified as “orange” on the State’s tiered system, which will occur no sooner than the end of the month. The San Francisco Department of Public Health is developing health and safety guidelines in coordination with the local restaurant industry in order to prepare restaurants for the safest reopening possible.

“Restaurants have been hit hard by COVID-19. Many have adapted with takeout and outdoor dining, but they’ve still been barely hanging on and, sadly, some have closed for good,” said Mayor Breed. “We are laying out the next steps to make sure restaurants are ready to reopen as safely as possible. I want to thank the Golden Gate Restaurant Association for working with us to get to this point. Helping our restaurant industry survive this pandemic is a key part of our longer-term economic recovery.”

San Francisco is currently assigned to the State’s “red” tier, which provides the City the discretion to move forward with reopening some activities and services, including indoor salons and gyms. While San Francisco recognizes the State’s thresholds, the City will continue on a reopening path based on its local health indicators and unique challenges and successes of our local reopening. Based on the State’s tiered system, the earliest that San Francisco will move to the less restrictive “orange” tier is at the end of September. However, if local COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations do not remain stable, San Francisco may not meet the criteria of the orange tier and will remain in the red tier.

“We appreciate our vibrant restaurant community’s sacrifice throughout this pandemic, and we want to thank them for their cooperation and patience that has brought us to this point,” said Dr. Colfax. “While health officials continue to monitor the virus, we also need San Franciscans to continue practicing the health and safety precautions needed for us to reopen our city gradually.”

The City is working with the Golden Gate Restaurant Association to develop a self-certification process for reopening indoor dining in San Francisco. This process will provide restaurants the information and tools they need to prepare to safely reopen indoor dining with limited capacity and other modifications in place. Before restaurants can reopen, they will need to complete a self-certification documenting their ability to comply with minimum standards for operating indoor dining in San Francisco.

“Our measured approach to reopening is grounded in science and facts, and science clearly tells us that indoor activities come with additional risk,” said Dr. Tomás Aragón. “We must work with the restaurants and business owners to implement strong safety protocols that help mitigate this additional risk and protect the safety of our employees, customers, and the community.”

“I grew up waiting tables at my parent’s family restaurant. Knowing first-hand what it takes to keep a business going, it’s been my priority to find pathways for businesses to reopen and stay in San Francisco,” said Assessor Carmen Chu, Co-Chair of the Economic Recovery Task Force. “The next step will be to work in the coming week with public health and restaurants to ensure we have clear guidelines for how we can more safely operate indoors for workers and customers.”

“Today’s announcement brings hope to our San Francisco restaurants and the thousands of workers who need these jobs,” said Laurie Thomas, Executive Director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “The past six months have caused so much pain and financial hardship for many. Having a clear and safe path to move forward with indoor dining, even at a limited capacity, will mean restaurants have the chance to reopen and/or see a way to not have to close. We thank the Mayor and her staff, and Dr. Aragón and Dr. Colfax for working with us to make this possible.”

“For restaurants on Larkin Street in Little Saigon, the news that we may be able to begin reopening indoors again in weeks rather than months is really hopeful,” said Rene Colorado, Executive Director of the Tenderloin Merchants Association. “Outdoor dining has been important but it’s not enough alone, especially as we approach the wetter, colder months. Today’s news offers some hope there really may be a light at the end of the tunnel.”

“We’re very happy Mayor Breed is being proactive in helping small businesses by listening to them and taking action,” said Small Business Commissioner William Ortiz-Cartagena.  “Restaurants are telling us what they need and reopening indoors is the next step to saving these businesses and all the jobs they support. We commend the Mayor and appreciate her for standing with us and all our small businesses in these challenging times.”

“It’s great to hear that we will be allowed to have indoor dining again, especially after having to close our busting dining room on Larkin Street in Little Saigon for six months,” said Thao Pham, owner of Turtle Tower Restaurant. “We are very excited to welcome guests back into our restaurant and its helpful to have more notice this time, so we can begin planning how best to do so responsibly and safely.”

Reopening Next Week 

In-classroom learning with limited capacity for TK-6th grade will begin to resume September 21st for schools that have submitted a safety plan and have received approval. Indoor museums and galleries may submit health and safety plans this week and will be able to open as early as Monday, September 21st. Additionally, San Francisco continues to evaluate ways to bring other activities, including indoor movies, bars, nightlife, and offices back safely.

Prior Reopening

Earlier this week, San Francisco’s reopening continued with additional outdoor and indoor activities. The businesses and services that resumed indoors with limited capacity include hair salons, barber shops, massage services, nail salons, gyms and fitness centers. Only those services where face coverings can be worn at all times by everyone involved will reopen at this time. Hotels, outdoor family entertainment centers, drive-in entertainment such as outdoor movies, and outdoor tour buses and boats also reopened on Monday under rules for outdoor gatherings. 

The reopening of businesses and activities will increase travel and interaction throughout the city, which means increasing community spread of the virus and an increase in cases. Public health officials will regularly assess the Key Public Health Indicators, particularly new positive case counts and hospitalizations to ensure San Francisco has the necessary resources available for those that are infected.

San Francisco’s reopening plan is available online at Reopening is dependent upon San Francisco’s Health indicators remaining stable or improving, and the plan is subject to change. All San Franciscans must do their part to limit the spread of COVID-19, including face masking, social distancing and handwashing.