Effective today, the county of San Mateo moves to the second stage (red) of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system, allowing indoor dining, nail salon, gyms and places of worship to open with limits.

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 this means is that you – the residents of San Mateo County – have made huge sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” County Manager Mike Callagy said. “We have precious few moments to celebrate in these unprecedented times. But this is something we should all be happy about now that so many of our businesses can reopen and so many of you can get back to work.”

“This is great news for so many small business owners who have worked so hard to keep their businesses going,” said Warren Slocum, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. “What each and every one of us can do is to commit to patronizing our local businesses.”

Moving to Tier 2 (Red) allows:

  • 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

“I think we are going to remain cautious to protect our staff and our guests,” said Flea Street Cafe owner Jesse Cool, who celebrated the restaurant’s 40th anniversary in August. “We will start to think about how to adjust, change, learn from this time of great upset. We will be fair to all and not go backwards, but reinvent with a food first, ingredient driven menu prepared and offered to guests in the best way in the midst of mandates changing daily. That probably means take out until spring.”

Tian, who owns Sky Nails in downtown Menlo Park, was ecstatic about being able to move back indoors. Her salon had undergone extensive remodeling to limit the number of customers with glass shields between patron and manicurist.

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.

Photo by Robb Most taken in 2018 when Left Bank in Menlo Park celebrated its 20 anniversary. New to Left Bank is the pop up: The Kebabery by Meso menu, kabobs served on a skewer, in a wrap or over rice or greens. Learn more.

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