San Mateo County health officer issues legal order prohibiting gatherings of 250 or more

San Mateo County now prohibiting gatherings of over 50 people due to coronavirus

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San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow today amended a legal order issued two days ago prohibiting public and private gatherings of 250 or more people. Effective tonight at midnight, public and private gatherings of more than 50 people will be prohibited through April 6.

In addition, hosts or sponsors of gatherings of under 50 people in the County must implement “all of the COVID-19 risk mitigation measures listed in the order,” which includes accommodating social distancing that allows all attendees to stand or sit at least six feet from any other attendee, and providing proper hand hygiene and sanitation material at all times, including soap and waste receptacles.

Hosts and sponsors must also alert attendees 24 hours in advance that such gatherings pose a heightened risk of COVID-19 transmission, and that older adults and individuals with existing health conditions are at particularly serious risk and should not attend. Also, the order requires hosts and sponsors of gatherings under 50 people to clean surfaces with disinfecting wipes or other standard cleaners before, during and after the event.

Ultimately, the health officer strongly urges hosts and sponsors to cancel all such gatherings to prevent possible COVID-19 spread.

There are exceptions to the legal order, including for normal operations at airports or spaces where persons are in transit, commercial office space or hotels, places of worship for purposes of conducting religious services or ceremonies, grocery stores, shopping malls and other retail establishments, and hospitals and medical facilities.

Violating or failing to comply with the legal order constitutes a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine, imprisonment or both, the legal order states.

As of Saturday, San Mateo County has 32 cases of COVID-19, while the Bay Area has over 150 cases.

Health officials are continuing 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.