SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Officials in San Francisco on Thursday issued detailed guidelines that retail stores eligible to reopen on May 18 will need to follow in order to operate within specific coronavirus restrictions.

Mayor London Breed made her initial announcement about San Francisco’s retail businesses reopening on Wednesday.

At first, the city was expected to allow just florists, bookstores, cosmetics stores and a few others to reopen on Monday for pickup and delivery services. During her Wednesday coronavirus briefing, Breed announced she was expanding that order to any retail store that has direct access to the street.

The guidelines issued by San Francisco outline the safety requirements and restrictions for retail businesses, as well as associated manufacturers and warehouses. The guidelines are available online at

Before a business can open, they must prepare, post, implement and distribute a social distancing protocol for each of their facilities, and a written health and safety plan that addresses all applicable best practices that are outlined in the relevant SF Health Officer directives.

“Allowing retail to operate storefront pickup is a great step for our small businesses, which have
been struggling since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Breed. “Businesses that will be allowed to open next week won’t be able to operate like they used to but this hopefully offers a measure of support. We will be monitoring our key COVID-19 indicators carefully, and will be ready to quickly make any adjustments as needed to respond to a spike in cases, or an increase in hospitalizations.”

Key requirements of the current city health order remain in place, including requirements to stay
home except for essential needs and certain permitted activities, including outdoor businesses
and activities. Additionally, San Franciscans must continue to follow social distance
requirements and wear face coverings when waiting in line for pickup or inside of businesses.

Under the amended health order, any retail store in San Francisco that faces the street will be
able to operate under the following conditions:

  • Storefront, curbside, or outside pickup only. Customers may not enter the store.
  • No more than 10 personnel may be on site in the retail facility at any time. Smaller stores
    may have to limit personnel to less than 10 to allow for social distancing.
  • Stores must have access to an adjacent curbside adjacent sidewalk, street, alley, or
    parking lot for pickup by customers using any form of permitted travel. The pickup area
    must not block pedestrians, or cause pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center may not reopen at this time, except when the store in question has a separate entrance to an exterior sidewalk.

City officials estimate this will include more than 90 percent of retailers in San Francisco. Businesses can request a free temporary loading zone for their business from SFMTA.

In addition to retail stores, some manufacturers, warehouses and logistical businesses will be
allowed to open. Businesses that manufacture the goods sold at retail stores covered above and
have no more than 50 personnel on site in the facility at any time will be allowed to operate.
Businesses that provide warehousing and logistical support to the retail stores covered above and
have no more than 50 personnel on site in the facility at any time will also be allowed to operate.

“This is a meaningful step on the gradual path to the new normal,” said SF Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax. “As we take these hopeful steps, we will continue to balance them alongside protecting community health. We will keep a close eye on the data, so that we can move forward, or pause, or increase restrictions, depending on the spread of the virus in the community.”