The State of California announced good news in the local fight against the coronavirus as indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship may now open with restrictions in San Mateo County.
The county – effective immediately – moves to the second stage (red) of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system.
Still, the county’s new risk level is considered “substantial” under the state’s monitoring system and officials caution that businesses and individuals must continue to follow health and safety guidelines. San Mateo County’s health order requiring face coverings, social distancing and limited gatherings remains in effect.
What changes / what can open
Effective immediately the following new activities/business operations are allowed:
• Restaurants indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
• All retail indoors (max 50% capacity)
• Shopping centers, swap meets indoors (max 50% capacity, closed common areas)
• Personal care services – hair and nail salons, barbershops (open with modifications)
• Museums, zoos and aquariums (max 25% capacity)
• Places of worship (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
• Movie theaters in doors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
• Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10% capacity)
• And more
Businesses can find guidelines that apply to their industry on the state COVID-19 website.
Businesses allowed to reopen or expand operations must follow industry-specific guidelines for health and safety, face covering requirements and social distancing.
Under the tier system, bars, breweries and distilleries where no meals are served remain closed.
The Red Tier 2 also gets schools one step closer to supporting in-person learning, but it will continue to be a gradual process.
First, San Mateo County must stay in the Red Tier 2 for two consecutive weeks. Then, for a return to campus, a school must be able to implement the Four Pillars of the San Mateo County Office of Education’s Pandemic Recovery Framework, including health and hygiene protocols, physical distancing, face coverings and limiting gatherings. A COVID-19 testing plan for staff must also be in place. Visit the San Mateo County Office of Education’s website for more details.
Protect yourself and others
The reopening of sectors of the economy will increase travel and interaction among people. Public health officials urge everyone to continue to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) health and safety guidelines and to avoid large gatherings of any kind.
“This remains far from over,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s Health Officer. “To get out of this situation depends on all of us. Our collective best course of action: No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.”
By moving from the Purple Tier 1 (where coronavirus infections are considered “widespread”) to Tier 2, San Mateo County met certain thresholds measured by the state. Every county in California is assigned one of four tiers based on test positivity and the adjusted case rate.*
San Mateo County’s state-calculated case positivity rate was 4.5 percent and the adjusted case rate was 6.6 percent for the week ending September 12.
If San Mateo County does not continue to meet the state’s thresholds, it could be placed again in the more restrictive Purple Tier 1.