Reopening guidance for restaurants

Documents you will need to operate for takeout, and outdoor and indoor dining during the coronavirus pandemic.


Action required: Complete and post a Health and Safety Plan from this fillable PDF, before you open your restaurant for dining.

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.

Action required: 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: 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.

See this guidance in Español中文, Русский, Pilipino, 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.

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.

Directive 2020-05 regarding required best practices for restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food for delivery or carry out (the “Directive”), was issued by the San Francisco Health Officer on May 8, 2020 and updated May 15, 2020). This document reviews the main points of the Directive, outlines the steps you should take, and gives you resources and more information to help you comply with the mandatory requirements that are fully detailed in the Directive

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]

General requirements

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. Your restaurant cannot serve food or drinks past midnight.

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

Increase ventilation from the outside. Open windows and doors. Consider getting air cleaners or upgrading air filters.

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.

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 safer than indoor dining

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. 

Only use umbrellas or shade structures if air can move between them.

Indoor dining is allowed at 25% normal maximum capacity for each room, up to 100 people

Maximum capacity includes patrons who may need to come inside to pick up a takeout meal, or outdoor diners using the restroom.

Do not seat patrons at bars or counters.

Minimize contact between people

Customers may only dine for 2 hours at most. Your restaurant cannot serve food or drinks past midnight.

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.

More resources

See food deliveries and COVID-19 guidance.

Daily health screener you can use with your patrons and workers.

Download signage to print yourself, or get printed posters.

Find SF vendors who sell face masks, hand sanitizer, and other protective equipment for your employees.

See general information about operating a business during the pandemic.

See business guidance from Department of Public Health.

More languages

See health directives and plans in various languages.

News updates

Indoor dining, indoor worship, and other activities allowed (September 30, 2020)

Indoor dining and indoor worship will be allowed September 30 (September 29, 2020)

Mayor London Breed announces timeline and framework for reopening indoor dining in San Francisco (September 18, 2020)

Outdoor dining allowed under new health directive (June 12, 2020)

New health directives help set stage for safe reopening (May 9, 2020)