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.

Retailers can open for curbside pickup

Stores can reopen for curbside pickup if the location:

  • Has clear access to a sidewalk, street, parking lot, or alley to use for pickup
  • Has no more than 10 employees on site at once, to handle curbside pickup
  • Is not in an enclosed shopping center, unless the business has its own exterior door

Supply chain businesses supporting this retail can operate

Manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics that support this retail can resume. But they cannot have more than 50 employees on site at once.

See details about opening for curbside pickup

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 restaurants, cafes, and bars do not count. Restaurants still  cannot have indoor or outdoor dining.

Outdoor group exercise facilities (like bootcamps) also do not count. People should not be exercising in the same group, unless they live together.

Outdoor businesses must still keep their indoor spaces closed to the public. All sales must occur outdoors.

Essential businesses can operate

Essential businesses include:

  • Healthcare operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair essential infrastructure
  • Grocery stores, certified farmers markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments that sell unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry
  • Retailers that sell hygienic products, and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences
  • Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing (including indoor plant stores and nurseries, but only for seeds and materials for food cultivation)
  • 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
  • Car dealerships only for selling supplies, repair services, and online sales with delivery (but not for indoor car sales)
  • 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
  • Hardware stores
  • Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and others who provide services that are necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and essential businesses (but not for cosmetic purposes)
  • 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), and not for cosmetic purposes or upkeep
  • 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 or carry out
  • Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains
  • Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, but only to the extent that they supply Essential Businesses, not the general public
  • 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

Businesses that do not fall in one of these categories are non-essential.

Non-essential businesses must not be open to the public

Non-essential businesses 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

If your business has more than 75% of the sales floor area selling non-essential goods (like books, games, jewelry, or apparel), you cannot be open to the public. You can still ship and deliver your items to customers.

Non-essential businesses may not provide curbside pickup.

Essential activities at non-essential businesses

Businesses that do both essential and non-essential activities must scale their in-person operation to only essential activities. 

However, retail businesses that devote at least 25% of their sales floor area for essentials (like food and personal hygiene) can keep their entire storefronts open. 

Non-essential businesses can change their function to produce supplies to help address the pandemic. They can continue operating to produce these supplies, which can include:

  • Surgical masks
  • Face coverings (including fabric supply)
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Sanitizing products
  • Other essential products for medical facilities

Employees at non-essential businesses

Employees working at any businesses must maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from each other at all times.

Workers doing minimum basic operations must wear a face covering when others are nearby or when they are in areas that the public regularly visits.

Non-essential 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.

Restaurants and food facilities

All public restaurants can only be open for delivery or takeout. They cannot serve food for customers to eat onsite. This includes outdoor restaurants, cafes, and bars.

Hospital cafeterias can remain open, as long as they follow physical distancing rules for essential businesses.

All food facilities must follow the COVID-19 recommendations for food facilities.

City services

Essential government services are operating.

See more information about City services during the coronavirus outbreak.

Liquor stores

Liquor stores can be open only if at least 25% of the sales floor area is used for essentials like food, household cleaning, or personal hygiene items. 

All liquor stores must close by 8 pm.

Childcare

Childcare facilities and camps can open in June, following physical distancing and other safety rules.

Information about schools and childcare during the coronavirus outbreak

Cannabis

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

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

Healthcare and medical suppliers

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

Organizations that support healthcare providers can also remain 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 (including caring for a family member)
  • Working at an essential or outdoor business
  • Working at an essential government function
  • Avoiding an unsafe condition (such as homelessnes 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 reside in the same household. The current occupant must not still reside in the home.

Special cases

Appeal a City decision

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

To appeal, 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.

Get help

Phone

311

If you see a business open that is not essential, call 311. 

Last updated May 29, 2020