Reopening guidance for restaurants (for outdoor dining)

Documents you need to operate for outdoor 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 outdoor dining.

Action required: Complete and post this Social Distancing Protocol.

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.

Guidance highlighting the Directive requirements for Outdoor Dining, including social distancing and health plan and transmission prevention measures such as setting tableware after guests are seated, using disposable menus, and removing shared condiments.

Health directive about best practices for outdoor 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.

General requirements

Bars, wineries, and tasting rooms that are not permitted to serve meals still cannot open.

Restaurants must be able to set up their tables outside, so that patrons are seated 6 feet apart. Another 6 feet must be available for pedestrians. You can get a free temporary permit to use the sidewalk, parking lane, or the entire street for dining. 

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.

All staff must wear face coverings. Customers must also wear face coverings when they are not eating. You must be able to provide face coverings for customers and anyone who works for you. This includes vendors and gig workers.

Increase ventilation from the outside. Only use umbrellas or shade structures if air can move between them. Open windows and doors to protect your staff. Consider getting air cleaners or upgrading air filters.

Minimize contact between customers

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.

You should only have live entertainment that uses percussive, string, or electronic instruments. No singing, wind instruments, or brass instruments are allowed.

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

Thoroughly clean between customers

Restaurants must disinfect:

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

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

More resources

Daily health screener you can use with your 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

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