Visiting businesses during the coronavirus pandemic

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

As we reopen San Francisco, the safest choice is to get vaccinated. 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

Although COVID-19 cases have gone down, coming in contact with people you don’t live with is still risky, especially if you’re not vaccinated yet. People may transmit COVID-19 while not feeling sick. 

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. Unvaccinated older adults and people with pre-existing health conditions are most in danger if they get COVID-19. 

Getting vaccinated is the best way to lower your risk. Everyone who is eligible, including people at risk for severe illness with COVID-19 and members of their households, are urged to get vaccinated as soon as they can. If you are not yet fully vaccinated, staying safe at home or choosing outdoor activities with appropriate safety measures is the best way to control your risk.

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 much safer than indoor activities. 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. This is especially important if you are not vaccinated yet. 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 if you or your family feels sick and need to cancel. Arrive on time, so you do not need to wait long. Arrive alone, unless you are accompanying a child or have a caregiver. 

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.

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.

When you are out

You must wear a face covering the entire time you’re inside at a business, including waiting for takeout food. This includes when you are fully vaccinated.

You will not be allowed to go into any buildings without a face covering.

You should 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. Even if there are barriers, it’s still safer to stay 6 feet apart.

See other tips about staying healthy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last updated May 06, 2021