San Mateo County falls back to more restrictive red Tier 2 starting tomorrow

by Linda Hubbard on November 16, 2020

Effective tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov. 17, San Mateo County falls back to the more restrictive red Tier 2 on the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan as indoor dining is rolled back and lower capacity and other limits are placed on businesses and other activities.

Following an increase in coronavirus cases, the state of California moved San Mateo County back from orange Tier 3 where the risk level from the virus is considered “moderate” to “substantial” under the red Tier 2. The setback affects a wide sector of businesses and adds to the urgency to follow health guidelines and not mix households indoors.

“While this is a setback, we need to look to a brighter future and to support local businesses and our local restaurants,” said Warren Slocum, president of the Board of Supervisors. “Let’s all take a pledge to patronize our favorite local businesses as best we can. That could be an order we pick up at the curbside or a take-out dinner. Let’s help one another the best we can at this most trying of times.”

County Manager Mike Callagy said, “What this tell us is that all of us need to redouble our efforts to follow common-sense health and safety guidelines: wear your face covering, wash your hands, maintain social distancing and, above all, do not gather in close proximity to those outside your immediate household.”

San Mateo County’s shift from the orange to the red tier is due to the increase in the county’s adjusted case rate, which is now 5.7 daily new cases per 100,000 population. That’s more than double the adjusted case rate of 2.2 per 100,000 population.

“I know that everyone wants to see family and friends for the holidays, and we’ve heard promising news about vaccines,” Callagy said. “But this is no time to relax and let our guard down. We’re asking everyone to share in the sacrifice so that in what we hope is the near future we can reopen our economy further and enjoy life as normally as possible.”

At a news conference today, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced San Mateo County and numerous other counties across California have regressed due to rising case counts and other metrics. He cautioned that further restrictions may be implemented – including a curfew – if case counts do not come down.

San Mateo County’s transition back to the Red Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy does not impact the operation of schools or the process for returning students to in-person instruction. Education is considered an “essential” activity by the State – not a gathering – and, therefore, is not impacted by the State’s recently updated guidance on gatherings.

Schools in the county that are currently operating in-person instruction have all developed plans and are implementing the guidance provided in the Pandemic Recovery Framework.

“Despite the understandable anxieties, the return model that Menlo Park City School District and others have implemented has managed risks and allowed our students and staff to experience the benefits of in-person learning for their academic, social, and emotional well being,” said Erik Burmeister, Superintendent of the Menlo Park City School District. “As a society, if we sacrifice to keep anything open during a pandemic, it should be our schools. Districts throughout San Mateo County are showing how that can be done.”

To slow the spread of the virus, all businesses, organizations, child care facilities, schools and other operations that are allowed to open under the state’s COVID-19 blueprint must follow industry-specific health guidelines and adhere to local health orders that mandate face coverings and social distancing.

Summary of Red Tier 2:
-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 indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
-Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10% capacity)

“With the holidays approaching, everyone is longing to be with their loved ones,” said Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health. “But with the numbers we are seeing in the Bay Area and in California, it’s important that we find safe ways to appreciate the holidays and each other. What better expression of our gratitude than to keep our loved ones safe!”

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