UPDATE, September 27, 7:45 a.m.: The Golden Gate Restaurant Association announced late Saturday that the San Francisco Department of Public Health will update its preliminary indoor dining guide for the city of San Francisco. The update is expected to be a revision of the capacity definition for indoor dining and will not include employees in the allocation number. The GGRA said it was unsure when the revision will be published, although it is expected to be in the next few days.

Below are the original rules on capacity limits.

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San Francisco released a preliminary draft of its indoor restaurant on Friday before San Francisco was inducted into the orange tier of the color-coded reopening plan of COVID-19 in California on Tuesday.

While much of the guide was as expected, the biggest surprise given the guidelines for alfresco dining – say, at least two meters between tables – was the capacity limit.

Although the state had set a capacity limit of 25% based on certificate of occupancy or 100 guests (whichever is less) for these red plain districts, San Francisco went one step further in its guide.

Not only was San Francisco waiting to hit the state’s orange tier before allowing indoor dining, but it also expanded the state’s definition of capacity, noting that the 25% capacity or 100 diner limit numbers did that Restaurant staff as well as customers who dine al fresco and customers entering the building will include take away food, which results in customer numbers well below expectations.

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The Golden Gate Restaurant Association shared the draft guide with its members, saying the group had provided feedback on the draft guide and expected some of the requirements to change before Tuesday. The change in the capacity rules was noticed by the group, who wrote that they are “working to clarify some of our concerns in the preliminary guidelines.”

“Our main concern is that staff is currently being counted. This is particularly problematic for smaller restaurants,” said GGRA.

Other changes to indoor dining include: changing seating at bar counters or other areas where diners are within two meters of food being prepared; Limit meal time for customers to two hours; Entertainment such as performances and television is also not permitted.

The full (preliminary) guide can be found here.

Dianne de Guzman is Food + Drink Editor at SFGATE. Email: [email protected]