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How to Report Restaurants That Violate Coronavirus Safety Guidelines

Each Bay Area county has a different system, here’s the scoop

The Danish Town of Solvang Reopens to Tourists
California’s Governor urges residents to report restaurants that fail to follow coronavirus-related rules like social distancing and face mask wear.
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

In his announcement last week that California’s coronavirus infection rate was increasing at an alarming rate, Gov. Gavin Newsom called out bars and restaurants as particularly risky for the spread of the virus. “We’re not shutting restaurants down,” Newsom said, but reiterated that diners should report spots that seem to be violating the rules of mask wear or social distancing to the appropriate authorities.

“Read up on these guidelines,” Newsom has said, urging diners to bone up on their local safety rules. “When you go to a restaurant and it’s clear that they’re not practicing what we are preaching, report them. Give us the tools to enforce.”

According to San Francisco’s latest guidelines, which were issued last week, restaurants that fail to follow health orders will have their permission to allow outdoor dining suspended or revoked, and those whose violations persist will be ordered to close. In other counties, it’s up to the sheriff’s department to enforce health orders.

That county-by-county distinction makes it confusing to figure out who to call if you’re alarmed by a situation at a local restaurant. The county department of Public Health? The state Alcoholic Beverage Control? The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health? None of those options are technically wrong, but here’s what officials from Bay Area counties say is the best way to alert them to restaurants that might be endangering patrons or employees: