Reopening guidance for restaurants

Documents you will need to operate for takeout and in-person dining during the coronavirus pandemic.

General requirements

Provide as much takeout and delivery services as possible. These are the safest options for dining out during the pandemic.

Bars, wineries, and tasting rooms that are not permitted to serve a bona fide meal (what could be considered a main course) still cannot open.  Bars can partner with a restaurant, but the restaurant must handle all orders.

Buffets and self-cooking options (like hotpots) are not allowed.

Customers may only dine for 2 hours at most. All dine-in customers must leave by 10 pm, due to the State’s health order.

Screen everyone for COVID-19 symptoms before you seat them. Send people home if they feel sick.

Post a checklist of ventilation methods you’re using.

Tables must only seat 6, and customers must be 6 feet apart

Restaurants must be able to set up their tables so that patrons are seated 6 feet apart. 

If you cannot space patrons 6 feet apart, you must set up a hard, tall barrier (like Plexiglass) between tables. Do not completely enclose tables. Air must still be able to move through the space.

Tables should only seat up to 6 customers. You can seat more if everyone is from the same household. Customers should not be served unless they are seated at a table. Customers should not stand between tables.

Everyone must wear face coverings

All staff must wear face coverings while at work. Customers must also wear face coverings when they are not actively eating or drinking.

You must be able to provide face coverings for customers and anyone who works for you. This includes vendors and gig workers.

Outdoor dining is allowed until 10 pm

When placing tables outside, make sure you leave 6 feet of sidewalk available for pedestrians. You can get a free temporary permit to use the sidewalk, parking lane, or the entire street for dining. 

You can set up umbrellas, tents, or temporary structures outside. Make sure air can flow freely through every area, including corners. No more than one side can be closed. See State guidelines about temporary structures for outdoor businesses.

Indoor dining is not allowed, as of November 14, 2020

Closing indoor dining will help prevent COVID-19 transmission. We will reconsider indoor dining after the current surge of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Minimize contact between people

Encourage customers to make reservations and look at menus on their smartphones. 

Remove any items that customers could share between each other, such as ketchup bottles, decorations on tables, candy bowls, and toothpick dispensers.

Only set up glassware and utensils after customers have been seated. Pre-wrap utensils. Make sure all staff handling utensils have washed their hands.

Have customers pack their own leftovers. Staff should provide containers only when asked.

No entertainment will be allowed. This includes TVs and performances. Close areas where people could dance or gather.

Restaurants must stop:

  • Providing tableside service (for example, do not use food display carts)
  • Using self-service areas, such as condiments, utensil caddies, buffets, and salad bars
  • Using self-service machines, such as ice, soda, or frozen yogurt dispensers
  • Using coat or bag checks

Thoroughly clean between customers

Provide hand sanitizer at entrances.

Restaurants must disinfect:

  • Any items used, between customers (such as laminated menus, chairs, booster seats, tablecloths, and utensils)
  • Highly touched surfaces (such as doors, handles, faucets, and tables)
  • High traffic areas (such as waiting areas, hallways, and bathrooms)

Restaurants must provide dishwashers with protective equipment to prevent splashing into their faces.

City staff may inspect your restaurant, including the kitchen, at any time.


8.5 x 11 poster in English, Chinese, Spanish, and Filipino addressing the pause in reopening indoor services.

Action required: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable PDF, before you open your restaurant for outdoor dining. Indoor dining is not allowed.

Action required: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable MS Word document.

Action required: Complete and post this Social Distancing Protocol. See this protocol in Español or 中文 or Filipino or русский or Tiếng Việt or عربى.

Action required: All businesses must post information for their staff about how to report violations of COVID-19 health orders at the workplace. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino. You can also download this poster in 11x17 size.

Action required when indoor dining allowed to reopen: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster, along with Indoor Risks (posted externally) meet all the posting requirements. 

Action required: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets the requirement for communicating indoor risk, for all businesses doing indoor operations.

Action required: All businesses open to the public for indoor services must complete and post this ventilation checklist. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.

Action required: The Health Order requires that businesses post certain signage for their customers during the coronavirus pandemic. This poster meets of all the signage requirements for outdoor eating establishments. It is in English, Spanish, Chinese, and Filipino.

Action required: Restaurant owners may use this to remind patrons that masks must be worn when dining out, including whenever not actively eating or drinking, while away from their table, or when restaurant staff approach them. Also available in Spanish and Chinese.

Action required: This poster gives tips on ventilation during COVID-19 and Air Quality incidents.

Best practices for dining establishments for outdoor and indoor dining. Note that indoor dining is not allowed at this time.

See this guidance in Español中文, Русский, Filipino, Tiếng Việt 

Guidance about ventilation from the Department of Public Health, for businesses, offices, schools, faith-based and similar organizations.

Health directive about best practices for outdoor and indoor dining, with guidance and a health and safety plan attached. Note that indoor dining is not allowed at this time.

Health directive about best practices for restaurants, food take-out, and food delivery.

The Shelter-in-Place Order that states what activities are allowed and prohibited during the COVID-19 emergency.

Best practices for workers who deliver food from restaurants and other prepared food facilities.

The San Francisco Department of Public Health Food Safety Program recommended precautionary measures to protect public health and prevent the spread of pathogens such as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Other Languages: [Chinese]   [Spanish]   [Tagalog]   [Vietnamese]   [Russian]