San Diego County Gets Go-Ahead To Reopen Restaurants For Dine-In & Retail For In-Store Shopping

May 20, 2020

California's governor has approved San Diego County Board of Supervisors plan to allow restaurants to open for dine-in and retail shops for in-store shopping, effective immediately.

At yesterday's San Diego Board of Supervisors meeting, county officials unanimously voted to allow restaurants to open for dine-in beginning upon California state approval, as long as businesses enact social distancing measures and follow various restrictions and increased cleaning to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. Retail shopping, including shopping malls, is also be permitted, as are swap meets. This evening, California officials approved the proposed variance to the state's stay-at-home order. The county will permit the reopening effective immediately.

"The Governor has approved the opening of restaurants and retail stores in San Diego County effective immediately!,"posted San Diego Supervisor Kristin Gaspar. "We are still eagerly awaiting his review of our pilot program to move forward with Phase 3. Stay tuned but this is great news tonight."

The California Restaurant Association recently submitted recommendation to the state's governor on precautionary measures that should be put in place to allow for the state's restaurants to reopen.  Businesses reopening are required to complete San Diego County's Safe Reopening Plan and post it at their entrance. There is also a state checklist for specific industries, such as the retailer guidance and checklist. San Diego County has also provided various resources to help guide restaurants, food and beverage purveyors on their eventual reopening, including San Diego Safe Onsite Dining Plan, San Diego Restaurant Operating Protocol (required to be prepared and posted on the premises but no longer have to submit to county), Guidance for Food Facility Re-Openings, San Diego Safe Dining Posters, and State Guidance for Dine-in Restaurants. All tables in restaurants must be 6 feet apart or have barriers between them. Employees must wear face coverings and have temperature screening. Customers must wear face coverings except when seated. Reservations and expanded outdoor seating is encouraged. 

“Based on the current readiness criteria, San Diego County is ready to move to the Accelerated Stage 2 of the state’s plan," said Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, M.D., M.P.H, County public health officer. "The County has made great progress in the fight against COVID-19 and it is now safe for certain businesses to resume operations if they can implement safety measures outlined by the County and State."

County supervisors also voted 4-1 to forward a plan to Governor Gavin Newsom requesting that San Diego operate a pilot program to accelerate reopening our local economy. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher was the only one that voted against the proposal, citing fears of venturing past stage 2. This measure still requires pending approval by the California Department of Public Health. Under the proposed pilot program, county officials are asking the California governor to allow the reopening of research labs, therapeutic and peer support groups, modified youth sports clubs, and outdoor religious services as early as this Friday, May 22. This would also allow for the reopening of HOA/apartment/condominium pools at 25% capacity and personal services like salons and fitness facilities at 25% capacity with appointment only. Further stage 3 openings like movie theaters, religious services, sports leagues, tours/sports fishing, arts and cultural venues, college and universities, and other personal services are still to-be-determined.

This is a developing story. We will update this post as we learn more.