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San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has amended the shelter-in-place health order allowing the reopening of additional businesses, effective at 12:01 a.m., Monday, May 18, 2020, and bringing the county into alignment with early Stage 2 of the statewide reopening plan.

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the State of California Resilience Roadmap on May 12, which outlined additional businesses that can operate statewide with health and safety modifications, and if allowed by local health orders that may be stricter or call for a slower, phased reopening.

This local health order amendment continues to limit most activity, travel and governmental and business functions to essential needs, outdoor activities and outdoor businesses. However, it also moves San Mateo County toward the statewide Stage 2 reopening goals by adding more businesses and activities to the list of permitted functions, to the maximum extent possible at this time.

“It has been a difficult time over the past eight weeks for our residents and businesses, but I am proud of our community,” said Mayor Cecilia Taylor. “I see people using good judgement, wearing face coverings and safely social distancing. That is what it will continue to take as we enter this new phased reopening. We must continue to exercise caution and care as we support local businesses and move forward together.”

Some businesses reopening
The amended health order allows the following businesses to operate and people are permitted to leave home and travel to work at or patronize them:

-Retail businesses may operate for curbside or outside pickup only with certain restrictions (see below)
-Car washes
-Pet groomers
-Dog walking services
-Residential and janitorial cleaning services
-Appliance repair
-Outdoor museums with outdoor exhibits, with customers wearing face coverings at all times and no indoor components (e.g., gift shops, indoor exhibits)

Retail stores and related retail supply chain operations, such as bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores and florists can reopen with safety protocols, including social distancing and face covering requirements, in place and while ensuring:

-Customers may not enter the store
-Orders must be placed in advance via phone, internet or other means (no walk-up or on-demand orders)
-Stores must have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk, street, ally or parking area for pickup without blocking access or creating congestion (stores in enclosed indoor shopping centers that do not have direct access to such areas may not reopen)

Businesses involved in manufacturing, warehousing, or logistics may operate only to the extent that they are manufacturing goods or providing support for these retail stores.

The amended order also allows offices to reopen but only in instances where telework is not possible and employees cannot perform their duties from home. These businesses must minimize contact with members of the public, may not conduct indoor person-to-person commercial activity and must follow social distancing and face-covering requirements at all times.

Recreational opportunities
While local orders may still prohibit some facilities that require active monitoring and management from reopening (for Menlo Park, this currently includes public tennis courts, basketball courts and the skate park), this amended order provided for other countywide changes:

-Removes the previous 10-mile limit on travel for recreation
-To reduce gathering and crowding near the coast, access between the hours of 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to all public parks, trails, and beaches west of Highway 1, is limited to travel directly from one’s residence and may not involve use of a motor vehicle
-Encourages local authorities to close and/or prohibit parking in areas adjacent to beaches
-Outdoor facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering must remain closed to public access. Such facilities include playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, spas and barbecue areas.

“Progress on COVID-19 indicators related to hospital utilization and capacity makes it appropriate, at this time, to allow certain additional businesses and activities to resume with conditions,” said San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. “But I want to remind everyone these modifications to the shelter in place order are not being made because it is safe to be out and about. The virus continues to circulate in our community, and this increase in interactions among people is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate.”

Dr. Morrow said that the activities allowed by the order will be assessed on an ongoing basis and may need to be modified or restricted if the risk associated with COVID-19 increases in the future.

Photo of blue ribbons in support of healthcare workers by Linda Hubbard (c) 2020

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