County of Marin - News Releases - Reopening Retail

For Immediate Release
May 14, 2020

Guidance Coming Soon for Reopening Businesses

Industry informed collaborative helps retailers and manufacturers follow latest orders

San Rafael, CA – As curbside retail businesses and manufacturers in Marin County prepare for reopening, clear guidance is coming on how and when business can safely resume and the tools that will make the reopening planning process easier.

On May 15, the public health officer for Marin County will issue a new shelter-in-place order allowing curbside retail and manufacturing to open May 18 in Marin cities, towns and unincorporated areas. This builds on the May 4 order that re-opened outdoor businesses and construction. Details will be posted on the business section of, which connects local business owners and residents with recovery and business reopening information.

Marin Recovers Industry Advisors – comprised of industry experts, business representatives, residents, public health professionals and local government – has created industry-specific working groups to collaborate on reopening the economy and community while supporting businesses with the reopening process. The result includes clear guidelines for reopening that are aligned with state and local public health requirements and result in safe and productive businesses environments.  The goal of the guidelines, available May 15, is to ensure that every business owner is well prepared to protect both employees and customers when they reopen.

Artistic graphic shows seven people in a semicircle with arms around each others' shoulders with words saying Marin County Phases of Recovery, www Marin Recovers dot orgThe Marin Recovers website connects local business owners and residents with all sorts of information about the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To open, each business must create and post its COVID-19 Site Specific Protection Plan to comply with the public health orders. The plan will need to include accommodations for social distancing requirements, disinfectant protocols, and employee training for the new reopening conditions. On May 15, the Marin Recovers Industry Advisors will release a template to guide businesses in the creation of a reopening plan.

The COVID-19 Site Specific Protection Plan is required by the State of California to reopen whether opening curbside or an eventual full reopening. The local template will help businesses move through the plan development process more quickly while ensuring they comply with public health requirements. Essential businesses that are already open with modified operations will be required to complete a reopening plan as business practices change, such as when restaurants are permitted to host on-site dining.

“It’s so important for our public health and economic recovery that we take these steps together as a community,” said San Rafael Vice Mayor Kate Colin, chair of the Marin County Council of Mayors & Councilmembers COVID-19 economic recovery committee. “Our process for navigating the reopening of our economy is based on collaboration, and we need the community’s feedback to get this right.”

The business section of includes a list of online resources to help businesses put safe business practices in place prior to opening, including sample signage and protective product suppliers. The County is working with chambers of commerce and downtown business associations to prepare business owners for curbside retail operations.

The decision to move forward with allowing a business sector to reopen is based on the available science and the status of COVID-19 in Marin and across the Bay Area region at any given time. To measure this, Bay Area counties have set indicators that measure rates of local cases, testing rates, hospital bed and PPE capacity, among other important factors. These indicators are continually reevaluated based on COVID-19 status, and Marin’s indicators show that progress is underway.

Based on the data, Marin is purposely taking a cautious approach to reopening. Among California’s 58 counties, Marin ranks 17th for the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and tied for 10th for the number COVID-19 related deaths per 100,000 residents. A driving factor behind Marin’s death rate is Marin’s older adult population.

“The most important thing that we recognize is that reopening does not mean the virus is gone,” said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin’s Public Health Officer, in a recent video message. “It means we believe we are prepared to take the next step, knowing that the virus is here and that we remain at risk. We have no zero-risk options.”

Continued loosening of the shelter-in-place order requires that both residents and businesses stay vigilant in reducing the spread of COVID-19. This includes frequent hand washing, staying home when sick, wearing a face covering in public spaces, and maintaining physical distance of at least six feet from people who are not part of your household.

Watch the introductory video about and make a comment to be shared with small business industry advisors. Download a PDF of the Marin County COVID-19 Recovery Plan in English or Español.


Max Korten
Marin County Parks

Marin Civic Center
Suite 260
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 342-5914
Email: Max Korten