San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow issued a legal order Thursday prohibiting mass gatherings of 250 or more persons, effective Friday at noon.
The order applies to public and private gatherings and includes “exceptions for houses of worship, museums, malls, hospital and medical facilities, and the normal operations of hotels and airports,” the County said.
Until further notice, the order will remain in effect until 11:59 p.m. on April 3. Violating or failing to comply with the legal order constitutes a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both, the legal order states.
Beyond the legal order, Dr. Morrow further recommended canceling all non-essential gatherings of any size, and asks public members to practice social distancing—keeping six feet away from others.
The County is following Gov. Gavin Newsom’s guidance regarding gatherings of over 250 people.
The steps are “necessary to slow the spread of the virus, safeguard the public, and attempt to conserve healthcare resources as an influx of new patients is expected,” the County said in a statement. “The goal is to reduce the number of patients potentially requiring hospitalization and other medical resources.”
To date, over 100 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed throughout the Bay Area, and 20 in San Mateo County.
Meanwhile health officials arecontinuing to advise the public to cover their coughs and sneezes, wash their hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds each time, and avoid shaking hands and touching their faces with unwashed hands. Those not feeling well or experiencing cold, flu, or other symptoms, are asked to stay home from school or work
“If you are mildly ill, there is no need to contact your primary care provider as they are very busy right now,” health officials said. “If you are significantly ill, contact your primary care provider.”
For more information, visit smchealth.org/coronavirus.