Bookstores such as City Lights are expected to be able to begin curbside sales on Monday in San Francisco. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

SF drafts guidelines for most retail businesses to open for curbside sales Monday

Beginning Monday morning, San Francisco will allow retail stores to open for curbside sales if they comply with a number of requirements including using tape or some other marking to indicate where customers should stand six feet apart while waiting in line.

Guidelines drafted by The City and obtained by the San Francisco Examiner indicate that a health order allowing retail to open will be issued at 10 am Monday.

Only sales of products are permissible, not services, and customers are not permitted to enter the store at any time.

All sales “must occur outside the building, such as in the doorway, through an exterior window, or at a small table set up at the front of the facility,” according to the guidelines.

Businesses are already announcing they are going to open Monday.

Dog Eared Books Valencia said it will provide curbside and at-the-door pick up from 11 am until 7 pm beginning Monday.

“In order to assure customer safety, Dog Eared Books will handle all books and packaging using appropriate coronavirus safety protocol,” the business wrote in an emailed announcement. “Our employees wear masks and handle all books with protective gloves.”

City Lights plans to reopen for pickup and orders on May 20, according to its website.

“Since we’ve been away from the bookstore for two entire months, we’ll need a couple of days to get ready to meet demand for new books,” the website said.”This feels epic, and we can’t wait to see what it is you are ready to read!”

They plan to offer bookstore pickup sales Monday through Saturday from 12 pm to 6 pm.

According to the guidelines, retail stores can open for curbside and outside sales if they have “direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street, alley, or parking area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.”

The stores can have no more than 10 employees on site at any time, according to the guidelines. But if the space is small, that number must be reduced to ensure that there is “at least six feet of physical distance at all times.”

Stores in enclosed shopping centers are not permitted to open. “Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to adjacent sidewalk, street, parking lot, or alley area may not reopen at this time,” the guidelines say.

Retail owners must create a Healthy and Safety Plan before they open and post it in areas visible to both employees and customers. The posting must display the rules, such as wear a face covering at all times and do not shake hands.

Employees must be informed of all the rules and instructed “not to come to work or the facility if they are sick.”

Employers must provide their employees with face masks and provide “hand sanitizer effective against COVID-19 at points of purchase for all customers and elsewhere at the facility or location for personnel.”

Other measures employers must take is to “frequently disinfect any break rooms, bathrooms, and other common areas” and “create and use a daily checklist to document each time disinfection of these rooms or areas occurs.”

Businesses still have to accept cash payment but should encourage customers “to use credit, debit, or gift cards for payment.”

San Francisco imposed a stay-in-place health order on March 17 to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The order allowed only essential businesses like grocery stores to remain open. Restaurants were allowed to operate, but only for pickup and delivery.

The stay-in-place order, which was extended twice, is set to expire May 31. It’s unclear if The City plans to extend it further.

The decision to allow retailers to open comes after pressure from some quarters, including from the San Francisco Council of District Merchants Associations.

The order is expected as long as there is not an unexpected spike in hospitalizations. Dr. Grant Colfax, head of the Department of Public Health, said Wednesday that they are monitoring several indicators to determine how to reopen the local economy, including hospitalizations, which have remained mostly flat.

As of Thursday, there were 1,999 confirmed cases of COVID-19 out of 40,543 persons tested, and 35 deaths. There were 65 people hospitalized with COVID-19 as of May 12, of which 25 were in intensive care units.

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