Check if a business can be open

During the coronavirus pandemic, many businesses in San Francisco must close. See what businesses can operate.

What to do

See what business activities are allowed to continue under the Public Health Order. The City has a plan for reopening businesses in phases.

Allowed businesses must follow certain rules to continue operating.

Closed due to State requirements

By Monday, July 20, 2020, indoor shopping malls and non-essential business offices must close.

Stores in indoor malls can open for curbside operations if they have a safety plan approved by the Health Officer.

San Francisco is on the State’s COVID-19 watch list. We now must follow State rules.

In-home services can reopen, with physical distancing

Housekeepers, chefs, and other services provided inside people’s homes can work.

You cannot hire people to come to your home if they cannot stay 6 feet away, like hairstylists or massage therapists.

Retail storefronts can open, with physical distancing

Indoor shopping is allowed for stores open to the street or sidewalk, if the store limits the number of people inside. Staff and shoppers must be able to keep 6 feet from others at all times. Stores can operate at no more than 50% of normal maximum occupancy. If there is not enough space for that, only the number of people who can maintain 6 feet from each other are allowed inside.

Entertainment venues can live-stream events without an audience, and small film productions can continue

Venues must still be closed to the public. Up to 12 staff can be inside to live-stream, unless a separate safety plan is approved by the Health Officer. Singers and wind or brass players must be in separate spaces.

Outdoor recreational groups can reopen

Up to 12 people, including staff, can be in the group. Activities should not involve any contact sports, contact between people, or shared equipment. Allowed groups can be:

  • Bootcamps
  • Solo dancing classes
  • Yoga classes
  • Tai chi classes
  • Walking tours
  • Segway tours
  • Charter boats for fishing or sightseeing

Restaurants with sit-down meal service can open for outdoor dining

Restaurants must be able to set up their tables outside so that patrons are seated 6 feet apart, with another 6 feet available for pedestrians. 

Bars, wineries, and tasting rooms that are not permitted to serve food still cannot open. 

See details about outdoor dining

Retailers, low-contact services, and outdoor equipment rental can open for curbside pickup and dropoff

Services that do not involve prolonged contact with customers can open for curbside pickup and dropoff. Examples include:

  • Library books and media
  • Dog grooming
  • Shoe repair 
  • Electronics repair

Companies that rent equipment for allowed outdoor activities are also allowed for curbside pickup and dropoff. Examples include rentals for:

  • Bikes
  • Kayaks
  • Paddleboards
  • Boats
  • Horseback riding
  • Fishing equipment

These businesses, along with retail stores, can reopen for curbside pickup if the location:

  • Has clear access to a sidewalk, street, parking lot, or alley to use for pickup and dropoff
  • Can maintain 6 feet of distance between employees
  • Has no more than 10 employees on site at once, to handle curbside operations 
  • Is not in an enclosed shopping center, unless the business has its own exterior door or submits a separate safety plan

Supply chain businesses can operate

Manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics can resume. Everyone inside must be able to stay 6 feet apart while working.

See details about opening for curbside pickup and dropoff

Outdoor businesses can operate

Certain businesses whose primary services are normally run outdoors can operate, if they are able to keep 6 feet between everyone.

Outdoor businesses include:

  • Businesses where at least half of the sales floor area was outdoors, like outdoor plant nurseries, agricultural operations, garden centers, outdoor flower stands, outdoor newsstands, certain auto dealerships, and outdoor car washes
  • Service providers that primarily provide outdoor services, like landscaping and gardening services, and environmental remediation services.

Outdoor businesses must still keep their indoor spaces closed to the public, unless customers have to use the restroom or walk through to get to the outdoor area. All sales must occur outdoors.

Offices can reopen only for people working essential business or government operations

Business offices can only open for essential business staff who cannot work from home. This includes coworking spaces.

Everyone in the office must wear face coverings and be able to keep 6 feet apart at all times. Offices must adjust their maximum occupancies to account for physical distancing. 

Offices with 20 or more staff can operate at no more than 20% of normal maximum occupancy. If that number of staff cannot fit safely, only the amount of people who can maintain 6 feet of distance from each other may return.

Essential businesses can operate

Essential businesses include:

  • Healthcare operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair essential infrastructure
  • Grocery stores, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments that sell food and nonalcoholic beverages.
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing 
  • Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals
  • Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services (like photography)
  • Gas stations for fueling and auto repair
  • Auto-supply and auto-repair services for cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorized scooters
  • Bicycle repair and supply shops
  • Banks and related financial institutions, including money lenders, check cashing services, and financing services at pawn shops (by appointment only)
  • Service providers that enable residential transactions (such as rentals, leases, and home sales) including real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and others who provide services that are necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and essential businesses
  • Arborists, landscapers, pool maintenance, and gardeners, but only to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or for safety (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition)
  • Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes
  • Educational institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities, for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions
  • Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers
  • Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery, carry out, and outdoor dining
  • Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains
  • Businesses that have the primary function of shipping or delivering groceries, food, or other goods directly to residences or businesses (operating only to support shipping and delivery)
  • Airlines, taxis, rental car companies, rideshare services (including shared bicycles and scooters), and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for essential activities
  • Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and pets
  • Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children
  • Professional services, such as legal, notary, or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with non-elective, legally required activities or related to death or incapacitation
  • Services to assist individuals in finding employment with essential businesses
  • Moving services for residents and businesses
  • Childcare facilities
  • Repairs for cell phones or telecommunication devices

Closed businesses can only do minimum basic operations onsite

Businesses that are not allowed to reopen must cease all activities at facilities located within the City except minimum basic operations. Operations that can continue include:

  • Inventory, ensure security, process payroll, and employee benefits
  • Activities that help employees work from their homes
  • Sanitation, including janitorial

All businesses can have their employees work from home.

Enforcement

If you see a business or organization that might be violating the order and endangering the public or its employees, report a health order violation.

The Public Health Order is a legal order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply if you do not fall within the exemptions specified in the order. It is a misdemeanor crime not to follow the order, although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble.

Details for some industries

Construction

All construction projects can continue, as long as they follow safety requirements.

Find out the safety requirements of your specific construction project.

City services

Essential government services are operating.

See more information about City services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Childcare

Childcare facilities and camps are open, following physical distancing and other safety rules.

Information about schools and childcare during the coronavirus outbreak

Cannabis

Cannabis retailers are allowed to stay open, but only for delivery or takeout. Other types of cannabis businesses may also stay open to support retailers.

Consumption lounges are not allowed, even for storefront retailers that are open.

Healthcare and medical suppliers

All healthcare providers are open. The Health Order does not advise or encourage healthcare workers over 60 to stop working.

Organizations that support healthcare providers can also stay open. This includes providing needed medical supplies.

Short-term rentals

You can operate a short-term rental (like an Airbnb, hotel, or hostel) if you are providing shelter for someone who needs it for:

  • Essential travel (like getting healthcare or caring for a family member)
  • Working at a business allowed to be open
  • Working at an essential government or healthcare function
  • Avoiding an unsafe condition (such as homelessness or domestic violence)
  • Needs to self-isolate due to COVID-19

You must clean and sanitize your rental between occupants. This includes sanitizing all surfaces and washing all linens.

Real estate showings

Real estate inspectors, appraisers, and photographers can continue working. Stagers can work if there is no one in the home.

Real estate agents may only show homes to potential residents over video. 

When a virtual showing is not feasible, a single agent may show a home in person only to a maximum of 2 people. Those 2 people must live in the same household. The current occupant must not still live in the home.

Special cases

Appeal a City decision

The City may direct you to temporarily shut down or change your business operations.

To be reconsidered, email HealthOrderAppeals@sfcityatty.org with:

  • Business name
  • Street address
  • Email and phone number of business manager or contact
  • The directive the business was given
  • Name of the City official who gave you the directive
  • Explanation of why you’re appealing
  • References to the relevant provisions in the April 29 Public Health Order.

Last updated August 04, 2020