BREAKING: San Diego County Obtains Variance Approving Advance In Stage Two Business Re-Openings to Allow Dining-in at Restaurants and In-Store Retail
BREAKING: San Diego County Obtains Variance Approving Advance In Stage Two Business Re-Openings to Allow Dining-in at Restaurants and In-Store Retail

Last night, after submitting requests to the State for approval to move forward, San Diego County became the first highly-populated county[1] to receive a variance from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) which allows San Diego County to advance further forward through Stage 2 of the reopening plan. 

What does this mean for San Diego County employers? 

In short, starting as early as today, restaurants and retail businesses in San Diego County are able to reopen to the public for dine-in services and in-store retail — subject to modifications.  For example, any restaurants and/or retail businesses that wish to reopen must follow the County’s reopening guidance (see following links) for dine-in restaurants and/or in-store retail businesses

In particular, prior to reopening for dine-in services, restaurants are required to review the below-listed guidance and complete the San Diego Restaurant Operating Protocol:

Prior to reopening, retail businesses must complete the County's Safe Reopening Plan, print it, and post it at their entrances.  When completing the County's Safe Reopening Plan, retail businesses are encouraged to refer to the State checklist for their specific industry, in particular the State’s Retailer guidance and checklist.

Once reopened for in-person business, San Diego County restaurants and retail businesses are still required to comply with face covering and social distancing requirements.  This includes taking measures such as:

  • Requiring both employees and customers to maintain social distancing protocols while on the premises.
  • Reconfiguring table layouts and/or checkout lines to maintain six feet of spacing between customers and/or dining groups; and
  • Limiting in-store capacity.

While San Diego is the first highly-populated county to receive permission to advance further into Stage Two, it appears others may soon follow.  Again, advancement through the Stages of the California’s Resilience Roadmap (aka California’s re-opening plan) is decided on a county-specific basis, with each county responsible for adhering to the State’s plan, seeking variances, and gaining approval to move forward. In the coming days or weeks, we anticipate other counties continuing to seek variances, having variances approved, and moving further forward into Stage Two re-openings.  AALRR will continue to monitor the reopening of California’s counties as employers ready themselves for employees returning to work and broader openings to the public.

If you have any questions or concerns about whether and how you may reopen or return employees to work, or about how to ensure compliance with local and State restrictions and guidelines to open safely, please contact the authors of this blog or your regular counsel at AALRR.

If you are looking for tools to help assist your business with the reopening process, the AALRR COVID-19 Return to Work ToolKit™ is available for purchase here.


[1] San Diego County is the second most populous county in California.

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