San Diego County Approved for State Variance
On May 20, 2020, San Diego County was approved for a state variance to move forward and allow additional businesses to reopen. Under the variance, restaurants will be permitted to have customers dine-in, and retail establishments will be permitted to have customers in-store with certain restrictions. San Diego is one of the first larger counties in California to be granted such a variance.
To ensure compliance with state requirements, San Diego businesses need to complete the county’s Safe Reopening Plan. Businesses that have been operating for pickup and delivery will need to update their plans. San Diego has also issued guidance for restaurants regarding dine-in operations.
San Diego County had previously issued a Safe Reopening Plan for retail businesses. The COVID-19 Safe Onsite Dining Plan for Restaurants and Restaurant Operating Protocol are similar; however, contain restaurant-specific guidelines.
The Dining Plan and Restaurant Operating Protocol include five (5) major measures for dine-in restaurants: employee health, social distancing, measures to increase sanitation and disinfection, education for the dining public, and recommended additional measures. Except for the last one, all measures are mandatory, so restaurants should thoroughly review both the Dining Plan and the Restaurant Operating Protocol.
All businesses that plan to reopen should review the state checklist for their industry. Moreover, all facilities that are reopening are required by the state to perform a detailed risk assessment and implement a site-specific protection plan. These plans must include the implementation of employee screenings, disinfecting protocols, and physical distancing policies. Businesses are also required to train employees on how to limit the spread of COVID-19, including how to screen themselves and stay home if the employee has symptoms.