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San Mateo County Reopens For Outdoor Dining, Sonoma Lets Diners Come Inside

Sit-down dining resumes in both counties on Saturday

DC Coronavirus Reopening
Outdoor dining is legal in San Mateo County as of Saturday, June 6
Photo By Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

San Mateo and Sonoma counties will significantly relax shutdown orders intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on Saturday, with plans to allow sit-down dining for cafes, restaurants, and bars that serve food.

Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase said on Tuesday that restaurant dining rooms can open for business on Saturday, June 6, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports, provided that they follow the social distancing, sanitation, and other regulations imposed at the state level for all of its restaurants.

Indoor dining is still a long way away for most counties in the central Bay Area, however — of the the six Bay Area counties that closed during the area’s initial shelter-in-place order on March 16, Alameda and Contra Costa counties remain without a plan for sit-down dining. Santa Cruz County has allowed indoor and outdoor dining, but the rest are outdoor only: Santa Clara County announced Monday that it would allow al fresco seating as of Friday, June 5, and San Francisco expects to seat diners at outside tables as of June 15.

Now we can add San Mateo County to the outdoor dining list, as County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has announced that as of 12:01 a.m. Saturday, restaurants can allow patrons to sit outside. As with many other counties across the state, those outdoor tables must be six feet apart, and tables can only be shared by those in the same household.

In a detailed document on its specific rules for restaurants, the county also called out specific rules for dogs in outdoor dining spaces (animals must remain leashed and six feet from non household members, so no petting others’ pups, San Mateo diners) and for the restaurants’ outdoor “lounge areas, like fire pits” (they “can be occupied by multiple households or living units, as long as six-foot distancing between households can be maintained at all times”). You can read the full county health order here, and the business-specific regulations here.

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