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New health directives help set stage for safe reopening

New Health Order directives released May 8 include new Health and Safety Plan for businesses, helping to set the stage for a safe reopening.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health has released new directives for some types of essential businesses to help maintain our progress against the coronavirus and set the stage for opening up more parts of society. 

Businesses are already doing most of these requirements, like physical distancing, proper cleaning, and making sure personnel and customers have face coverings. The new directives codify and make clear what is required for businesses to remain open.

Information by industry

There are 3 directives, one for each of these categories of essential businesses: 

Each directive has specific mandatory guidance for that industry. These are part of careful preparations for a safe reopening of our City.  More people doing more things requires more caution in how we operate. This is one way to maintain our progress, prepare to open up more aspects of daily life, and continue to save lives. 

Effective dates

The directives take effect immediately but include a grace period for complying with the requirements. Businesses need to comply with the requirements starting at 11:59 pm. on May 22, 2020. The directives will remain in effect until the Health Officer changes them or determines they are no longer needed.

Things that are new

Businesses are already doing many of the requirements under the directives. But there are several new aspects. Here are some of them.

Health and Safety Plan

Businesses must create and follow a Health and Safety Plan in addition to their Social Distancing Protocol. The Health and Safety Plan is a written policy for sanitizing, ensuring sick workers stay home, and educating personnel and employees about safety. You can use our Health and Safety Plan template (MS Word documents you can download and fill in) for: 

See other requirements for operating your essential or outdoor business.

Face coverings and hand sanitizer for staff

Businesses must provide face coverings and hand sanitizer to their personnel, including contractors and those not classified as employees, like “gig-economy” drivers. Workers may still bring their own if they choose. 

Staff who have symptoms

Anyone allowed to work outside the home who comes down with symptoms consistent with COVID-19 cannot return to work until they get tested. San Francisco offers free testing for anyone working outside the home through CityTestSF.

The directives prohibit retaliation or discrimination against personnel who stay home sick. 

The directives also remind businesses they should not serve people who are not wearing face coverings if required to do so. The face covering order exempts children 12 and under and those with a disability or medical condition that prevents them from wearing one.