While the COVID-19 shelter-in-place order has been extended through May 31, “all construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume with specific conditions,” public health officials announced today.
Under the new orders, which take effect May 4, all construction projects compliant with safety protocols will be allowed to resume. Also, all real estate transactions will also now be able to resume, but with continued restrictions on open houses and limitations on in-person viewings. Certain outdoor businesses can open again, including wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services as set forth in the order. However, outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars, regardless of whether they have outdoor seating.
In addition, residential moves and the use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities, like skate parks, golf, tennis and shooting/archery, can resume, but not spaces involving shared equipment or physical contact, according to the order. On Tuesday, the San Mateo County Parks Department announced the reopening of trails in 13 of 23 parks.
The health order restricts outdoor recreation to within 10 miles of a person’s residence. Also, San Mateo County’s beach parking lots and adjacent parking areas must remain closed to the public for beach access.
In addition, childcare, summer camps, educational and recreational programs are allowed to occur in “stable groups of 12 or fewer children” that includes the same children every day.
The easing of restrictions is a testament to the progress the shelter-in-place orders have made in limiting the spread of COVID-19, which has prevented a surge of cases that can overwhelm hospitals, according to public health officials. Further easing will be determined on indicators including whether the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations continue to flatten or decrease; whether there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment for healthcare provides; testing ability, especially for vulnerable populations; and ability to isolate infected officials.
“I hope that the indicators will continue to improve, which will allow future revisions to the order to focus more on behavior and risk and less on categories of businesses,” San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said. “We continue to work with the Governor’s Office on opportunities for lower risk sectors to adapt and re-open.”
As of Tuesday, there were 7,273 confirmed cases (up from 258 confirmed cases on March 15) and 266 deaths (up from four deaths on March 15) in the five Bay Area counties jointly issuing this order.
San Mateo County’s orders are available here: