An at-a-glance guide for going back to restaurants and stores

A sign indicates that a table has been cleaned at Saffron Thai on May 21, 2020 in San Diego, California. Restaurants began reopening for dine-in patrons on Thursday as the state and county began easing restrictions imposed during the coronavirus pandemic.
(Sam Hodgson / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Signs, face coverings, lots of cleaning. Welcome to the reopened world of restaurants and stores


As San Diego steps warily into a reopening of parts of the economy, including eating inside restaurants and shopping at more retail stores, things will be very different than before the coronavirus pandemic. They fall into broad categories of
requirements for social distancing, disinfection, sanitation and safe operations.

Here is some of what you can expect.


Some things have to happen out of sight, such as all employees need to have their temperature taken each day. Others are more visible, such as the requirement that all employees wear masks or face coverings when dealing with the public, or in an area where they can’t be socially distanced from others.

Be prepared for lots of signs; the county says they are mandatory for restaurants. There are to be signs telling people to maintain social distance of 6 feet, to wash hands or use sanitizer upon entering, to not enter if ill (obviously). These have to be posted at the entrance to the business.

Customers will also have to wear masks or face coverings when they are not seated at the table.

There are certain things you will not see, like condiments and salt and pepper shakers on tables, which are prohibited. No self-service sodas. Menus will have to be disinfected between each use, or they’ll have to be disposable, like paper menus.

Doggie bags are OK — but the rules require customers to package up their own leftovers.

All tables will have to be 6 feet apart, or have barriers between tables if they can’t be moved. The now-familiar tape on the floors marking 6 feet of distance for any place where customers line up is also required.


Many of the same requirements for restaurants will also apply to stores and retail establishments. That includes employee temperature checks, signage, social distancing and the like.

Face coverings will also be required for employees and, according to guidance for the retail industry published by the state on Tuesday, are “strongly recommended” for customers. Expect fewer people: state guidance recommends only 50 percent occupancy in the store.

Expect to see lots of cleaning and disinfecting going on if you venture into a store.

The guidance issued by the county and state also encourages touch-free systems, both in bathrooms and for paying. These are not mandatory, but are being encouraged by officials.


What happens if the rules are not being followed? No social distance at a restaurant, or face coverings at a boutique. Complaints can be made to local law enforcement for the area where the business is, if it comes to that.

But Luis Monteagudo, a spokesman for Board of Supervisors Chairman Greg Cox, said the county will “work to educate people and ask for compliance first before going to enforcement.”