Keep us all healthy

Latest Updates:

On February 25, 2020, Mayor London Breed issued a declaration of a local emergency in San Francisco in response to the global outbreak and spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). Today, seven Bay Area counties, including San Francisco, are determined to slow the spread of COVID-19 with strategies and policies designed to save lives and protect our communities. These include San Francisco’s latest Shelter in Place Public Health Order, which has been revised and bolstered recently to guide us through some of the most vulnerable and dangerous moments of the pandemic. This page is meant to connect you to the latest information and guidance about the City’s response to COVID-19 and resources available to employees of the City and County of San Francisco.

This webpage addresses:


Here is the Guidance for Employees of the City and County of San Francisco. Please visit the DHR Frequently Asked Questions page to find answers to questions about COVID-19.

COVID-19 Sick Leave, Emergency FMLA, or Vacation

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, the City is committed to maintaining City employee income security to the fullest extent possible, and to providing additional resources to employees who are providing front-line services during the emergency.

Accordingly, as authorized in Mayor Breed’s Supplemental Proclamation dated March 31, 2020, the Human Resources Director and the Director of Transportation for SFMTA service critical employees are implementing the following emergency leave and benefit policy changes, effective April 1, 2020.

Shelter in Place Public Health Order

San Francisco and six neighboring Bay Area counties have extended the shelter in place Public Health Order to May 31, 2020. This new order will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2020, and replaces the previous order issued on March 31, 2020. The new Order sustains requirements for physical distancing and face coverings and requires people to continue staying safe at home except to shop for food, care for a relative or friend, seek necessary health care, or go to an essential job. However, in recognition of the progress we have made as a city on slowing the spread of the coronavirus, some requirements have been modified.

The following is a summary of the extended order:

  • Physical distancing requirements are still mandatory. Stay at least six feet from anyone who doesn’t live with you.
  • Face coverings are still mandatory when leaving your home and are required for operators and customers of outdoor businesses as well as construction, with certain limitations.
  • Essential businesses such as grocery stores, banks, and pharmacies can remain open, but can still not run the parts of their operations that are not essential. Bars, nightclubs, theaters and movie theaters, and other entertainment venues must remain closed as well as all gyms and fitness studios, and all hair and nail salons. Restaurants, cafes, coffee shops, and other facilities that serve food must remain closed except solely for takeout and delivery service.
  • Some outdoor businesses are allowed to operate so long as they can do so safely. These outdoor businesses include but are not limited to flea markets, car washes, nurseries, and gardening services.
  • You can continue to go outside to walk, run or bike while staying at least six feet from anyone who doesn’t live with you.
  • Additional outdoor recreation activities are permitted to occur so long as there is no physical contact, shared equipment or use of high touch areas in recreation facilities. Examples include but are not limited to sunbathing, hiking, golf, skateboarding, and fishing.
  • You cannot play sports with shared equipment with anyone who does not live with you including frisbee, basketball, or soccer, anyone who doesn’t live with you.
  • Childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions (does not include schools) or programs providing care or supervision are now allowed to operate and are available to essential employees and employees of business that are authorized to operate under the new order.

Employees performing essential services must still report to work and those that can perform their work remotely must continue to do so. Essential services at this time include, but are not limited to:

  • Public safety and first responders (sworn police, fire, and deputy sheriff staff)
  • Transit operations (including MTA and SFO)
  • Work performed by all Department of Public Health employees
  • Human Services Agency Public Benefits enrollment, continuing eligibility, emergency housing services and distribution
  • Child and Adult Protective Services Emergency Hotline and Protective Services Response
  • In home care for vulnerable populations
  • Utilities (water, power, sewer)
  • 911 and 311 Operations
  • Sanitation
  • Deployed Disaster Service Workers

This order is in effect until May 31, 2020.

FAQs about Shelter in Place

Vulnerable Populations and Physical Distancing

The Department of Public Health has provided additional guidance on minimizing exposure for vulnerable populations.

Vulnerable populations are those who:

  • Are 60 years old and older
  • Have health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease and weakened immune systems.
  • Have disabilities that may put them at a higher risk of infection or severe illness because of their underlying medical conditions, including those with limited mobility who cannot avoid coming into close contact with others who may have been infected; people who have trouble understanding information or practicing preventive measures; and people who may not be able to communicate symptoms of illness.
  • Are pregnant. Based on available information, pregnant people seem to have the same risk as adults who are not pregnant. However, pregnant people have changes in their bodies that may increase their risk of some infections and have had a higher risk of severe illness when infected with viruses from the same family as COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, such as influenza.
  • Are experiencing unsheltered homelessness (those sleeping outside or in places not meant for human habitation). Sleeping outdoors often does not provide protection from the environment, quick access to hygiene and sanitation facilities, or connection to healthcare.

The guidance advises vulnerable populations to limit outings, avoid large gatherings, telecommute if possible, stay home if they are sick, and avoid people who are sick. If you have a health condition and are unsure whether it places you in the vulnerable population, ask your personal health care provider. If your health care provider advises you to stay away from work and you cannot work remotely, you may use any accrued leave. If you are a vulnerable individual and believe you have a job you can do from home, please discuss this option with your supervisor.

Disaster Service Workers (DSW)

All City and County employees are designated by State law as Disaster Service Workers (DSWs). This means that when the Mayor declares a local emergency, employees may be deployed to different work sites than usual, or be asked to perform work duties or tasks that are different from their regular work responsibilities. If you are telecommuting and performing nonessential work, or if you are on paid furlough, you may be called to take a DSW assignment. As a DSW, you cannot refuse a DSW assignment when your department contacts you. However, if you are called to a DSW assignment, you will not be required to do work you are not qualified to do. In addition, employees may volunteer for a DSW assignment. If you are interested in doing so, please complete this survey.

Some employees may not be available for work or a DSW assignment during this time due to illness or childcare responsibilities. If this is the case, you must be on sick or other approved leave. DHR has provided additional guidance. The DSW Assignments and Employees Leave will provide more information.

If you have questions about the responsibilities of a DSW, please speak with your department’s human resources representative.

Resources for Disaster Service Workers:

The City values and appreciates those who have been activated to serve as disaster service workers in response to the COVID-19 emergency. Click the below links for more information on resources available to support activated DSWs and essential workers:

  • COVID-19 Caring for SF Caregivers: Mental health and self-care resources provided through the San Francisco Health Services Behavioral Health Network. Read more on COVID-19 Caring for SF Caregivers .
  • Childcare for DSWs and Essential Workers: Mayor London N. Breed announced on April 9 that San Francisco’s emergency child and youth care centers will remain open until at least June 2 in order to support the City’s first responders, healthcare workers, and other essential City employees. To sign up and read more about the Childcare for DSWs and Essential Workers, visit the SF Emergency Child & Youth Care Program .
  • Front Line Worker Housing: The City and County of San Francisco is pleased to offer hotel rooms for front-line workers serving San Francisco residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about the FAQ guide or visit the eligibility information and booking .
  • City Test SF: The City has opened two COVID-19 test sites to expand testing capacity for essential workers and residents with barriers to healthcare. For more information on testing eligibility and to make an appointment, visit CityTestSF .

Volunteer Opportunities

Join San Francisco’s response to COVID-19. Healthcare professionals and other healthy adults are needed to assist in the City’s response. If you would like to volunteer, check out the opportunities below. Thank you for your service during this unprecedented public health emergency.


The City will do all it can to minimize health risk for our employees, consistent with DPH recommendations and occupational health standards. Where a department determines it is possible, employees who can perform their work remotely are encouraged to telecommute. Some employees, including those in the vulnerable population, may not be able to telecommute because they need to be at work in order to provide critical city services, for example, health care workers, transit operators, or those serving as Disaster Service Workers. The City will take measures in the workplace to mitigate risks. The City is encouraging departments to temporarily expand the use of telecommuting, and to consider offering flexible start and end times for shifts during this period. As you know, not all City employees have jobs that are suited to telecommuting. Review the City telecommute policy and process here:

Staying Healthy

We advise City employees to take the following steps to protect themselves and their families from infection:

  1. Take preventive measures such as frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
  2. Wear a mask. You can cover your nose and mouth with simple non-hospital grade facial coverings when leaving home for essential activities. Acceptable cloth facial coverings include bandanas, fabric masks and neck gaiters. Fabric covers and bandanas should be washed often and re-used.
  3. Cover your coughs and sneezes, avoid touching your face.
  4. Notify your supervisor and stay home if you are sick.
  5. Get your flu shot to protect against flu or symptoms similar to COVID-19
  6. If you feel sick, please call your primary health care provider. Employees have sick leave available should they need to stay home due to illness.
    1. Kaiser members: Contact the nurse advice line listed on your insurance card
    2. Blue Shield members: Contact your primary care physician listed on your insurance card
    3. United Healthcare members: Contact your physician.

Stay up to date on this rapidly evolving situation by visiting or . For more information on Disaster Service Workers visit DHR's website:

Maintaining A Respectful Workplace

A person’s risk for COVID-19 is not based on race, ethnicity or culture. As a reminder, City employees must abide by the Respect in the Workplace policy, and treat colleagues and members of the public with courtesy and respect. Discrimination of any kind is a violation of the City's Equal Employment Opportunity policies and will not be tolerated.

Resources and Guidance for Employees

DHR Weekly Newsletters

COVID-19 Guidance for Employees

Department Resources

Employee Resources

Messages from Mayor's Office

Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO)

Due to the Shelter In Place Order, all City EEO Investigators are working remotely. If you wish to file a complaint, please call the EEO Helpline at (415) 557-4900 or (415) 557-4810 (TTY). Please leave your name, best phone number to reach you, your department, and a brief message of your complaint. An EEO Investigator will call you within 48 hours to acknowledge receipt of your complaint. Thank you for your understanding during this health emergency.


DHR is in close consultation with the Department of Public Health to keep our workforce safe. We are also committed to keep our partners in labor informed as this situation continues to evolve. Labor partners can will be directly updated from our Employee Relations Division and can also use The California Labor & Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) as a resource.