Menlo Park’s downtown may get a boost with regional stay at home order lifted

by Linda Hubbard on January 25, 2021

California this morning lifted the “Regional Stay At Home Order” across the state – a welcome move for local businesses allowed to expand some indoor and outdoor operations.

Effective immediately, outdoor dining and personal services may resume with required modifications in San Mateo County. The County is not imposing additional local restrictions and remains in alignment with the State.

With certain restrictions lifted, the county returns to purple Tier 1 in the state’s four-tier, color-coded system for loosening and tightening restrictions. The purple Tier 1 is the most restrictive as the COVID-19 virus is considered “widespread” in the community.

“This is encouraging news, but we must caution the public that COVID-19 is still very much widespread across the nation as nearly 420,000 Americans have died from the virus in less than a year,” said David J. Canepa, president of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

“That being said, I’m ready to enjoy a meal outdoors again and certainly in need of a visit to the barber,” he said. “This is a huge sigh of relief for our struggling small businesses, but we’ve got a ways to go still before life returns to normal. Science and data tell us that wearing our masks stops the spread. So I will repeat once again, wear your damn masks.”

A quick spot check with a number of Menlo Park restaurants indicated that many are likely to not offer outdoor dining until at least Friday, given a series of storms forecast to hit the area. Most will be offering take out in the interim.

The state lifted the order as the Bay Area’s four-week intensive care unit (ICU) capacity projections are above 15 percent, the threshold that allows regions to exit the order.

The Limited Stay at Home Order, which limits non-essential activities between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., expires with the Regional Stay At Home Order ending.

The County of San Mateo follows all applicable California COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines and is fully aligned with the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Activity and Business Restrictions Under Purple Tier 1, according to State guidelines:

Restaurants (Dine In)
Outdoors only with modifications (takeout and delivery open with modifications)

Gatherings
Outdoors only with modifications
No more than three households

Places of Worship
Outdoor only with modifications

Movie Theaters, Gyms and Fitness Centers, Museums, Zoos and Aquariums
Outdoor only with modifications

Hair Salons, Barbershops, Personal Care Services
Open indoors with modifications

All Retail (except stand-alone grocers), Shopping Centers, Malls, Swap Meets
Open indoors with modifications
Maximum 25% capacity
Closed common areas
Closed food courts

Offices for Non-Essential Workers
Remote only

Outdoor Playgrounds/Recreational Facilities
Open with modifications

All businesses are required to follow industry-specific guidance.

While there are positive signs that the virus is spreading at a slower rate across the state, the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. It is still critical that Californians continue to:

  • Wear masks outside the home
  • Maintain physical distance of at least 6 feet
  • Wash hands frequently
  • Avoid gatherings and mixing with other households
  • Follow all state and local health department guidance and get the vaccine when it’s their turn.

As of Friday, Jan. 21, there have been 33,468 confirmed cases of OCVID-19 in San Mateo County: 151 cases in Atherton; 28 in Ladera; 1325 in Menlo Park; 83 in Portola Valley; 46 in unincorporated west Menlo Park; 119 in Woodside.

InMenlo file photo (pre social distancing) (c) 2010

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