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Outdoor Dining Officially Coming to SF This Friday

Restaurants in SF can apply for no-cost expedited permits to take over sidewalks, parking lanes, streets and parks
By - posted 6/9/2020 No Comment

Mayor London Breed Announces Outdoor Dining in San Francisco Starting This Weekend

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Restaurants may begin outdoor service beginning Friday, June 12, with proper health and safety protocols in place. City’s Shared Spaces Program to assist businesses by providing flexible use of sidewalks, streets, and other public spaces to serve customers

San Francisco, CA — Mayor London N. Breed today announced a plan for restaurants to offer outdoor dining service starting Friday, June 12. The amendment to the current Stay Home Order is set to be released later this week and will outline the specific health and safety protocols required for the activity. Only food facilities that provide permitted sit-down meal service may open for outdoor dining.

What’s open for outdoor dining? Check out the list of outdoor patios, sidewalk dining and rooftop bars

As part of the City’s plan to safely and gradually reopen, businesses will be able to apply for the City’s Shared Spaces Program to use a portion of the public right-of-way, such as sidewalks, parking lanes, streets, or other nearby public spaces like parks and plazas for restaurant pick-up and outdoor dining.

Beginning Monday, June 15, other businesses may reopen their storefronts for indoor retail and can also apply for Shared Spaces permits. With proper precautions, outdoor locations carry less risk of transmission of the coronavirus than indoor locations, making outdoor dining a safer option for the gradual resumption of restaurant services.

Before establishing an outdoor dining area, business owners will be asked to comply with a number new and existing requirements, including:

  • Social Distancing Protocol in the Shelter in Place Order issued on June 1, 2020.
  • Food Preparation or Delivery Essential Businesses (Directive 2020-05) including for takeout or delivery.
  • Patrons will be required to remain outside the outdoor dining establishment and may enter the establishment only for limited purposes such as to access a restroom, to access an outdoor space that is only accessible by traveling through the restaurant, or to order at an indoor counter.
  • Tables must be limited to 6 customers, except for members of the same household. People in the same party seated at the same table do not have to be six feet apart.
  • Customers must wear face coverings until seated and any time they leave the table, such as to use a restroom.
  • Establishments will be required to comply with strict cleaning and disinfecting protocols.
  • Additional details and requirements to be released on June 12.

Only food facilities that provide permitted sit-down meal service are allowed to open for outdoor dining. Meals must be prepared and served by the outdoor dining establishment or another person or business operating under an agreement with the outdoor dining establishment.

How will sidewalk and parking lane use work?

For outdoor business utilizing sidewalks or parking lanes, you cannot use a:

  • Traffic lane (for bikes or cars)
  • Bus stop
  • Red or blue curb zone

Additional sidewalk rules

  • Make and maintain a straight, clear travel path at least 6 feet (2 yards) wide across your entire sidewalk
  • You can’t block curb ramps, crosswalks, doors, driveways, fire escapes, fire hydrants.
  • Provide and use approved diverters
  • Keep furniture and diverters clear and free of advertising
  • Bring in furniture and diverters when you close every day

Additional Street Space uses

  • If many businesses on your block want to use street space, apply together to open the street for business activity. These applications open on June 15, 2020.
  • Provide an ADA accessible table and route if another is not available
  • Add approved traffic barriers

What about Breweries, Bars & Wineries?

Brewpubs, breweries, bars, pubs, craft distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms that do not provide permitted sit-down meal service must remain closed to the public, except for takeaway retail sales allowed by the order.

How can restaurants apply for “Shared Spaces”?

The City remains focused on responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, while also actively planning for San Francisco’s recovery. Part of San Francisco’s recovery includes finding ways to more safely reopen parts of the economy, including allowing curbside pickup at retail stores, and identifying other creative solutions to support businesses and their employees. Given that social distancing requirements will continue to apply until there is a vaccine for the virus, the Shared Spaces Program will support businesses by expanding their ability to operate into outdoor public spaces, providing additional space for required distancing among employees and customers.

The program allows individual businesses or local merchant associations to apply for a no-cost, expedited permit to share the sidewalk or parking lane for business purposes. Examples include restaurant pick-up services, general retail, and outdoor dining, as allowed by the Health Order. The program also includes the potential for broader repurposing of travel lanes or entire streets to support our neighborhood merchants and residents. Because these proposals would come with broader considerations such as impacts to Muni, these proposals will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

The COVID-19 Economic Recovery Task Force developed the Shared Spaces Program. The Task Force is charged with guiding the City’s efforts to sustain and recover local businesses and employment, and mitigating the economic hardships of COVID-19 that are affecting the most vulnerable San Franciscans. The Task Force’s work is supporting San Francisco organizations and individuals and is laying the groundwork for economic recovery.

Business owners who are interested in participating in the Shared Spaces Program will be asked to self-manage basic requirements around personal safety and accessibility. Examples include ensuring a safe path of travel and accessibility in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Program rules, regulations, and an online application are available on SF.gov/sharedspaces.