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Community Health Equity and Promotion

Deemed Approved Uses Ordinance (DAO)

Alcohol-related problems are a leading cause of premature mortality and public costs in San Francisco. The DAO is a San Francisco City & County regulation that requires businesses that sell alcoholic beverages (off-sale -- for consumption off the premises) maintain their business in a lawful and beneficial manner for the public and the surrounding community.

In January 2006, the SF Board of Supervisors passed the “Deemed Approved Uses Ordinance” (DAO) to insure that alcohol sales occur in a manner that protects the health, safety, and welfare of San Francisco residents The San Francisco Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Police Department, City Attorneys Office, and the San Francisco Tax Collector’s Office are working together to implement the DAO.

  • Background Information

  • San Francisco has one alcohol outlet for approximately every 200 residents

  • San Francisco has the highest ratio of off-sale alcohol use per capita in California

  • Studies have shown a link between alcohol availability and violence, fatal car accidents, and other law violations

DAO Overview

The DAO sets performance standards for all off-sale alcoholic beverage premises, such as liquor stores, markets, and drug stores, etc. to ensure that:

  • The premises are properly maintained and do not adversely affect the health, peace, or safety of persons residing or working in the surrounding area.
  • Nuisance activities such as litter, graffiti, and unruly behavior often associated with public consumption of alcoholic beverages within the premises or in close proximity of the premises be resolved for the best interests of the community.
  • The premises’ owner, the employees, or agents do not participate in, or assist persons participating in, illegal activities within the premises or within the boundaries of the premises’ property line, including, but not limited to, disturbance of the peace, illegal drug activity, illegal sale of firearms, public drunkenness, drinking in public, harassment of passersby, gambling, prostitution, sale of receipt of stolen goods, or theft, assaults or batteries.
  • Violations of any applicable provision of city, state or federal regulation, ordinance or statute are not committed on the premises.
  • The up-keep and operation of the premises are compatible with and will not adversely affect the livability or appropriate development of surrounding properties and the surrounding neighborhood.

Fee Waiver Request Process

Business owners may request a waiver of the H73 fee. The application process requires that an owner demonstrate to the satisfaction to the Department of Public Health all of the following:

    • That the Deemed Approved Off-Sale Alcohol Use has been under the same ownership for not less than the previous three years;
    • That the annual fee for the Deemed Approved Off-Sale Alcohol Use has been paid in a timely manner for not less than the previous three years;
    • That the Deemed Approved Off-Sale Alcohol Use has not been the subject of a City Department-referred complaint or any administrative penalties or conditions imposed by a Hearing Officer, Board of Appeals, or Board of Supervisors under the under the provisions of Administrative Code, Chapter 26

For more details, click here for DAO Fee Waiver Guidelines in English, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese.

To apply, business owners are required to complete a fee waiver application form. Click here for the form, or request a form by e-mailing or calling (628) 206-7697.

More Information

General Information

For general questions regarding the DAO, e-mail or call (628) 206-7697


Licenses, Annual Fees and Billing

For vendors with questions related to billing, certification and licensing contact the tax collector by calling 311. For faster service, please visit to submit a service request and a customer service representative will contact you on the same day of the request if submitted prior to 7:00 pm. Requests received after 7:00 pm will receive a response by the next business day. Please note: taxpayers who come to City Hall for in-person assistance or call 311 may experience long wait / hold times.



Related Resources

Density DAO Alcohol Outlets map