Business Reopening Guide

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Am I allowed to reopen my business? 

(updated 4/20/20)

Effective March 31, Alameda County will be in the Orange Tier of the State's Blueprint for a Safer Economy. Please click here and search Alameda County for a complete list of businesses which are allowed to open in Alameda County at this time. 

Current Alameda County Health Orders

Please click here for the latest public health order. 

On Monday, January 25, 2021, the State announced that the Regional Stay at Home Order has been lifted.

Effective March 31, Alameda County will be in the Orange Tier of the State's Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and all Orange Tier activities will be permitted.

The following businesses and activities can resume:

  • Offices: Indoors with modifications and remote work (telework) is strongly encouraged
  • Bars: Outdoors with modifications, no meals required to be served
  • Breweries, Distilleries, and Wineries: Indoors at 25 percent maximum capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer; No meals required to be served
  • Family entertainment centers: Indoors for naturally distanced activities like bowling, escape rooms, and billiards; 25 percent maximum capacity
  • Gyms, fitness centers and studios (including at hotels): 25 percent maximum capacity and indoor pools are permitted; Indoor hot tubs, saunas, and steam rooms continue to be closed
  • Movie Theaters: 50 percent maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
  • Restaurants: 50 percent maximum capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer
  • Retail: Open indoors with modifications and food courts permitted with indoor dining restrictions

Please click here, and search Alameda County for a complete list of businesses which are allowed to open in Alameda County at this time. 

For more information, visit ACPH's Shelter In Place website.

Questions about whether your business is permitted to open?  Please email COVIDRecovery@acgov.org.

State of California Blueprint for Safer Economy

On August 28, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which replaces the monitoring list that was being used to identify when businesses are allowed to reopen. The plan places counties into four different risk level categories, and includes guidelines for what types of activities are able to reopen at each risk level. However, it is important to remember that when two orders conflict, the stricter order applies

All photographs in this guide are by Maurice Ramirez

My business is not currently allowed to operate - when can I re-open?

Effective March 31, Alameda County will be in the Orange Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In order to move to the Yellow Tier, which would allow for additional reopening, we must have case rates below 1 new case per 100,000 residents per day and a test positivity rate under 2%.  Please click here for the latest data on case rates and test positivity in Alameda County.  

What are the rules for reopening?

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All businesses and activities within Alameda County are subject to the restrictions and requirements imposed by the State of California in its Blueprint for a Safer Economy and Industry Guidance 

The Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD) provides additional guidance and resources for reopening.  Please click here to learn more about any additional reopening guidance or requirements for your business. 

All businesses must implement a Site Specific Protection Plan while operating - please click here to find guidance and a template for creating your own Site Specific Protection Plan. 

Please click here to view Alameda County's Business Recovery website, which includes more detailed information for Retail, Outdoor Dining, and other sectors. 

COVID-19 Infection Reporting: As of March 1, 2021, the process for reporting individual workplace-related COVID-19 cases to the Alameda County Public Health Department has changed. Employers will now only report workplace-related COVID-19 outbreaks via the Shared Portal for Outbreak Tracking (SPOT)—an online platform that facilitates collaboration and sharing of information with employers and the Alameda County Public Health Department. Please click here for more information, under "Recording and Reporting COVID-19."

Download the State of California's Employer Playbook to learn more about to reopen safely.

Not Yet Permitted to Operate?  You Can Still Prepare for Future Reopening

20200504-172534_MauriceRamirezPhoto.jpg If your business is not yet permitted to open, you can still begin preparations by reviewing guidelines from the State of California and industry associations.

State Guidelines for Specific Industries

As part of their Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the State of California has created industry guidance to help Californians prepare for the reopening of our economy. 

Guidance from Industry Associations

Please click here for a list of reopening guidance from a variety of industry associations.

How can I operate successfully under new guidelines?

20200504-153406_MauriceRamirezPhoto.jpg The Downtown Alameda Business Association and the Alameda Chamber of Commerce have posted helpful guides to assist businesses in making their reopening as successful as possible. 

Resources for Reopening Businesses

  • #ShopSafeShopLocal: The State of California's #ShopSafeShopLocal website provides a range of resources for businesses as they reopen, including digital marketing materials, and assistance in accessed personal protective equipment. 
  • Business Counselling: Alameda businesses can apply for personalized business counselling through East Bay Score (510-273-6611 or info@eastbayscore.org) or the Alameda County SBDC.  Experienced business counselors can help you address a number of issues in the wake of COVID-19, from rethinking your marketing strategy to revising your business plan.

What are the rules about sidewalk dining, expanded hours, and other changes to support businesses?

  • Commercial Streets Program: The Commercial Streets program streamlines the permit approval process for businesses to expand dining and retail space to accommodate social distancing requirements.  This includes:
    • Usage of Sidewalks and Parklets
    • Use of Private Parking and Outdoor Space
    • Repurposing of Park and Webster Streets
    • Curbside pick-up parking 

    Please click here to learn more about the program, including requirements and application information.

  • Food-related businesses can stay open later: The City of Alameda has implemented emergency zoning changes to extend business hours for food related services and to make curbside pickup easier. The changes allow food-related businesses to sell to-go alcoholic beverages and to stay open until 2am.  Businesses must notify the City via email (permits@alamedaca.gov) if they would like to make this change.  
  • Commercial establishments can sell food and other essential goods: Restaurants and other commercial uses are allowed to temporarily sell food and other essential goods.  Businesses must notify the City via email (permits@alamedaca.gov) if they would like to make this change.
  • Businesses can use A-frame signs and temporary banners to advertise extended hours, additional food sales and availability of other essential goods.   Zoning regulations limiting temporary banners and A-Frame signs are suspended to allow businesses the opportunity to notify the public of extended hours, additional food sales and availability of other essential goods. To support safe movement of people walking, you must maintain 6 feet of sidewalk clearance, or 8 feet if on Park or Webster Streets. Businesses must notify permits@alamedaca.gov if they would like to display this type of signage, indicating the name and address of the business and types of temporary signs to be installed.
  • Updated Regulations Around Alcoholic Beverages: The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has issued several notices of regulatory relief  to assist businesses impacted by COVID-19.  These notices address a range of issues including to-go and delivery cocktails, outdoor alcohol consumption, and the creation of hand sanitizers by distilleries. Please click here for more information, including important details about eligible license types, packaging, and other requirements. 

How can I promote my business?

20200505-174807_MauriceRamirezPhoto.jpg The City of Alameda has launched What's Open Alameda? to help local business share updated hours, specials, COVID-19 safety measures, and any other information you would like to give your customers. This user-friendly directory is available to all Alameda businesses that are open during the COVID-19 pandemic - please click here to view.

Here's how to make the most of What's Open Alameda:

  1. Visit & Verify: Please visit the site to make sure your business is listed and that the information is up to date.
  2. Add & Edit: If your business is not listed, or if the listing needs to be updated, you can do so right in the directory. 
    • To add a listing, click on the "+List my Business" button in the upper right hand corner of the directory.
    • To edit an existing listing, navigate to the current listing, and click the "Edit" button in the upper right hand corner of the listing.
    • Add your email address: Make sure to add your email address to your listing. This will make sure you get all future notifications about the directory.
  3. Update regularly!: As new public health guidance is issued, update your business information regularly to reflect any changes to hours or operations. 

Please email econdev@alamedaca.gov if you have any questions about the directory.

Information for Restaurants

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All dining must comply with the COVID-19 Industry Guidance issued by the State of California.

In addition, all restaurants must comply with the Alameda County Department of Environmental Health (ACDEH) Restaurant Operating Procedures. Note: Major changes to food service operations, such as addition of dining areas, may require advance approval from ACDEH. Contact your inspector to discuss proposed changes. 

All businesses must implement a Site Specific Protection Plan while operating - please click here to find guidance and a template for creating your own Site Specific Protection Plan. 

Changes to Public Space, Rules and Regulations to Support Restaurants

Curious about sidewalk dining, street closures, and other opportunities increase your dining capacity? Please click here to view changes that are being made to public space and government regulations to support restaurants and other businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additional Reopening Guidance for Restaurants

Information for Retailers

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Indoor and outdoor retail is currently permitted, and is subject to the restrictions and requirements imposed by the State of California in its Blueprint for a Safer Economy and Industry Guidance.  Please click here for additional resources and guidance from Alameda County.  

All businesses must implement a Site Specific Protection Plan while operating - please click here to find guidance and a template for creating your own Site Specific Protection Plan. 

Changes to Public Space, Rules and Regulations to Support Retail Businesses

Curious about sidewalk retail, expanded hours, signage, and other opportunities increase your customer capacity? Please click here to view changes that are being made to public space and government regulations to support restaurants and other businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Where can I find additional resources for Alameda businesses?

Please visit our Business Resources page for information about a variety of state, local and federal programs that may help businesses with the impacts of COVID-19.