The state of California is rolling back San Mateo County to the most restrictive coronavirus rules as public health officials urge residents to avoid travel and gathering.
The state announced that, effective Sunday, November 29, San Mateo County will move to the purple Tier 1, the most restrictive on the state’s four-tier, color-coded COVID-19 reopening plan. A new nightly curfew – prohibiting residents from leaving their homes to gather with other households from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – also takes effect at 10 p.m. Monday, November 30.
Under purple Tier 1 restrictions, businesses and activities that may have been operating indoors – including places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and museums – must move outdoors or close. Shopping malls and all retail must operate at no more than 25 percent capacity.
Indoor gatherings among members of different households are banned and outdoor gatherings can include people from only three households outside of the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. restrictions. During those hours, no gatherings are allowed among households, with certain exemptions.
State officials said restrictions are necessary to control a recent surge in coronavirus cases across the Bay Area and state.
San Mateo County Health reported an approximately 85 percent spike in new COVID-19 cases from October to November. The rollback to purple is due to the county’s new adjusted case rate of 7.6 per 100,000 population.
The virus is considered “widespread” in purple Tier 1 in state’s four-tier “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” plan.
Limited stay at home order
The new stay at home order, announced by the state November 19, is more limited than the spring “shelter in place” order and applies only to counties in the purple Tier 1. It went into effect November 21 and will remain in place until December 21.
Residents can still go outside alone or with members of their own household “as long as they do not engage in any interaction” with members of other households or to work at essential jobs, such as in grocery stores.
The order requires all nonessential businesses and restaurants – even if operating outdoors – to cease operations by 10 p.m.
County Health officials urge residents to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for testing and California Department of Public Health tips for healthier holiday season:
“We continue to advise against traveling and want to reinforce that testing provides only a point-in-time result,” said County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. “A test during the incubation period is too early to detect the virus during the infectious period. So if you test negative before or during a trip, you may still present a risk of exposing others to COVID-19. A negative test does not clear you for visiting relatives.”
Morrow advised everyone to wear a face covering, maintain social distance and avoid gatherings even if your test result is negative.
Activity and business restrictions under purple Tier 1
Restaurants (Dine In)
Places of worship
Movie theaters, gyms and fitness centers, museums, zoos and aquariums
Hair salons, barbershops, personal care services
All retail (except stand-alone grocers), shopping centers, malls, swap meets
Offices for nonessential workers
Outdoor playgrounds/recreational facilities
All businesses are required to follow industry-specific guidance.