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Contra Costa County Reopens Outdoor Dining

After 5 p.m. Friday, al fresco dining is legal

DC reopens
As of 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5, outdoor dining is allowed in Contra Costa County
Photo by Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

Just days after it announced a relaxed health order that allowed car washes, plumbing, and pet grooming to reopen — but left restaurants takeout only Contra Costa County has announced that outdoor dining is legal as of 5 p.m. on Friday, June 5.

In a press release sent Friday afternoon, Contra Costa Health Services announced that “residents may again enjoy outdoor swimming pools, outdoor seating at restaurants, and dog parks” as of this evening, as well as “outdoor religious services of up to 100 people, indoor religious services of up to 12 people, use of outdoor picnic and barbecue spaces, and overnight camping for people belonging to the same household.”

The full, revised health order can be found here, and the county’s specific language is part of a separate “Additional Businesses” doc that can be read here. Only six people are allowed to dine at the same outdoor table, the order says, and all six of those folks must be from the same household. “Members of separate households or living units are not allowed to dine at the same table,” it says in case there are any questions about that rule. As might be expected, those tables must be six feet apart, and even though sit-down dining is legal, the health department says that restaurants shouldn’t try to coax diners into staying, and should instead “encourage takeout and delivery service whenever possible.”

For those who prefer to go for a picnic instead of sit-down dining, Contra Costa County has a third document on that. The main things to know are that everyone at an individual picnic area or barbecue area must belong to the same household, and that sharing of picnic tables or barbecue pits between households is strictly prohibited.

This afternoon’s order leaves Alameda County as the only member of the Bay Area’s original six-county shelter-in-place order that has yet to make a plan for restaurant reopening. Here’s the tally so far:

Alameda County: Restaurants remain takeout and delivery only

Contra Costa County: Outdoor dining begins at 5 p.m. Friday, June 5, indoor TBD

San Francisco County: Outdoor dining begins June 15, indoor dining begins July 13

San Mateo County: Outdoor dining begins at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 6

Santa Clara County: Outdoor dining begins Friday, June 5, indoor TBD

Santa Cruz County: Indoor and outdoor dining as of May 30