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Menlo Park City News

Posted on: April 29, 2020

Revised shelter-in-place order extended to May 31; some restrictions eased

The public health officer has revised the shelter-in-place order that began in mid-March. The updated order goes into effect May 4, and extends through May 31. It calls for some eased restrictions, but all requirements for social distancing and wearing face coverings remain in effect.

Social distancing has slowed the increase of new COVID-19 cases and prevented the anticipated medical surge. As officials cautiously ease regulations, we must continue to follow health protocols to contain the growth of new cases.

As of April 28, 2020, there are 7,273 confirmed cases (up from 258 confirmed cases as of March 15, 2020) and 266 deaths (up from 4 deaths as of March 15, 2020) in the seven Bay Area jurisdictions issuing this joint order.

This next phase reflects regional progress and is thanks to the collective action taken by Bay Area residents. Those actions have saved lives and staved off mass hospitalizations from the COVID-19 virus, which spreads easily and causes severe illness in many people. There is not yet an effective treatment or cure for the disease.

This initial, measured easing of certain restrictions is designed to set the stage for a gradual resumption of activity and prevent rapid, exponential growth of new cases that could overwhelm hospitals for a particular jurisdiction or the region as a whole.

“As we prepare to lift restrictions, we must learn to operate differently. It is very important that we continue to wear masks and to physically distance ourselves from others, as appropriate, in public settings. For those visiting, working in, or operating businesses and job sites, they must practice caution and follow the safety protocols responsibly,” said Mayor Cecilia Taylor. “Thank you for your patience and continued compliance with the order.”


While the new County order allows for construction so long as the project complies with specific safety protocols, Menlo Park’s local construction prohibition remains in place as of today. The City is finalizing plans to ensure city employees and construction workers can safely resume work, while following the very detailed safety protocols required by the county health officer. A revision of the local order will likely be announced in the coming days.

Outdoor and other businesses

Certain outdoor businesses can begin operating again, and people can visit those businesses to perform work or obtain goods, services or supplies. This includes wholesale and retail plant nurseries, garden centers and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services, as defined by the order.

Landscapers and gardeners are allowed to resume work, and like others, must follow safety protocols when interacting with members of the public or when working together as part of a crew. 

Outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars, regardless of whether they have outdoor seating; therefore existing restrictions remain in effect.

All real estate transactions can resume, but with continued restrictions on open houses and limitations on in-person viewings. 


San Mateo County’s order differs from the orders in other counties by restricting outdoor recreation to within 10 miles of a person’s residence. This restriction applies not only to San Mateo County residents but also to residents of other counties who wish to travel to San Mateo County for outdoor recreation. Residents of other counties are not prohibited from entering San Mateo County for essential activities specifically allowed by the order, but this provision, consistent with the State order, does prohibit those living more than 10 miles from San Mateo County from traveling to San Mateo County for recreation.

In addition, beach parking lots and adjacent parking areas must remain closed to the public for beach access, and local authorities have been encouraged to close or prohibit parking in areas adjacent to beaches as necessary to prevent crowds that cannot feasibly comply with the requirements of the order.

Indicators to help assess progress on containing COVID-19

The health officer also released indicators that will be used to measure progress in containing the virus and ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to protect the community from COVID-19. These indicators will be critical to decisions in the coming weeks and months about when and how to further ease shelter-in-place restrictions. The indicators include:

  • Whether the total number of cases in the community is flat or decreasing;
  • Whether the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 is flat or decreasing;
  • Whether there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for all health care workers;
  • Whether we are meeting the need for testing, especially for persons in vulnerable populations or those in high-risk settings or occupations; and
  • Whether we have the capacity to investigate all COVID-19 cases and trace all of their contacts, isolating those who test positive and quarantining the people who may have been exposed.

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said, “I hope that the indicators will continue to improve, which will allow future revisions to the order to focus more on behavior and risk and less on categories of businesses. We continue to work with the Governor’s Office on opportunities for lower risk sectors to adapt and re-open.”

San Mateo County’s order and related appendices:

The City’s local orders are generally consistent with the countywide and statewide orders. On any issue where the orders may differ, the stricter order applies.

Contact: Public Engagement Manager Clay Curtin
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