News Releases
The latest news and announcements from Mayor London N. Breed

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

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.

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. 

“Opening our restaurants is a great step that will help our small businesses that are struggling, our workers who need paychecks, and our residents who are ready to safely sit outside and enjoy a meal,” said Mayor Breed. “We have supported our small businesses with economic grants and assistance throughout the pandemic and will continue provide health guidance to help keep their employees and customers safe. Our continued reopening is dependent on each of us, as customers, employees, and San Franciscans to do our part by wearing our face coverings, keeping social distance, staying home if sick, and following the other health guidelines that will slow the virus spread.”

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.

“San Franciscans have done a terrific job helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. With hospitalizations down, and testing up, we are making progress in building the new environment where we are gradually reopening,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, Director of Health. “The next step of outdoor dining will rely on both restaurants and customers doing their part to take proper precautions, practice social distancing and ensure safety measures for staff.  We all have a role to play in a healthy and safer reopening.”

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.  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.

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.

“San Francisco's restaurants and retailers have been through tremendous hardship over the past few months. Every day and new line of revenue counts now," said Joaquin Torres, Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "The launch of the Shared Spaces program allows our businesses to access sidewalks, parking lanes and other public space to beginning serving San Franciscans safely again and to generate additional revenue while their use of indoor spaces is limited by the health order.”

“We are grateful to the Mayor and the City for moving so quickly to make the Shared Spaces Program a reality,” said Laurie Thomas, Executive Director, Golden Gate Restaurant Association. “This entailed a lot of work and coordination between departments. The ability for restaurants to soon seat patrons outside will definitely increase the chances we can survive financially.”

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.

“Just as businesses and residents are adapting to new ways of working and interacting, the City too needs to be flexible and creative in our approach to reopening. That is why I am excited for the launch of the Shared Spaces initiative,” said Assessor Carmen Chu, co-chair of the Economic Recovery Task Force. “By sharing our public spaces responsibly, we allow local businesses to meet the health and safety goals of spatial distancing while creating capacity for businesses to operate in a way that is economically viable. I would like to thank all of the members of the Economic Recovery Task Force who continue to provide vital input on how the City can best support our shared 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