Visiting businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

What to expect when you go shopping, get services, or visit public places.

Even as we reopen San Francisco, the safest choice is to stay home. If you do go out to public places or shop at local businesses, you can reduce your risk for getting or spreading COVID-19.

Think about the risk of going out

Every time you go out, you increase your risk of getting COVID-19 and passing it on to your household. Consider how much the outing means to you.

Consider the risk to yourself and the people you live with. Older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions are most in danger if they get COVID-19. 

Consider the number of COVID-19 positive cases in your area. Is it increasing, staying flat, or decreasing in your community? It is safer to go out when cases are low or decreasing. See cases in San Francisco.

Plan for your outing

Outdoor activities are safest. Avoid being indoors. If you have to be inside, try to be in rooms with open windows or good ventilation. 

Minimize how long you will spend outside of your home, and how many people you interact with. Try going out earlier, when there will be less people.

Make reservations if you can. If you feel sick, reschedule your appointment. You should not pay a cancellation fee. Arrive on time, so you do not need to wait long. Arrive alone, unless you are accompanying a child or have a caregiver. 

We recommend using your bathroom at home before you go out, especially if you’re going to a gym. Lockers and showers will be closed. You may need to bring your own water or towel

Keep in mind that some appointments may last longer. Many service providers (like hairstylists) cannot serve more than one customer at a time. You will also be asked to do some of the service at home, like washing your hair before haircuts.

Bring disinfecting wipes to sanitize anything that others might have touched, before you touch it. Many businesses must also remove anything that many people will touch, like sampling areas and interactive kiosks.

Check your health before going out

Check for COVID-19 symptoms. If you feel sick, do not leave your house except to get healthcare. Call your healthcare provider to get tested, or you can get tested at various locations in SF.

Businesses should not charge you a cancellation fee if you or your family feels sick and need to cancel.

When you are out

You must wear a face covering the entire time you’re at a business, unless actively eating or drinking. You will not be allowed to go into any buildings without a face covering. You must also wear a face covering when interacting with staff, even if you’re outside.

You must stay 6 feet apart from people you don’t live with. Many public places will change their layouts so people can stay 6 feet apart and avoid crowding.

If you are assigned a seat, do not switch seats. Businesses will use the seating chart to disinfect their space and to track patrons.

You may need to sign into some businesses with your name and contact information. If someone feels sick later, the City of San Francisco can help everyone who was there get tested.

Avoid touching your face. Use hand sanitizer often.

Try not to touch any surfaces inside. If you’re shopping, try to only touch things if you will buy them. If you try on clothes, you’ll need to return anything you won’t buy to an employee. The store will clean the clothes before displaying them again.

If you bring your own bag, you will need to keep your bag with you, and bag your own items. Some stores may not let you use a reusable bag. You are not allowed to bring a reusable mug to coffee shops.

See other tips about staying healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last updated October 22, 2020