San Mateo County extended public health order eases some restrictions

Bay Area health orders will remain in effect despite Gov. Newsom’s easing of restrictions

in Community/Featured/Headline

Despite Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement today that the state will relax its COVID-19 shelter-in-place order starting Friday, the more restrictive order governing six Bay Area counties will remain in effect, local public health officials announced.

“The Bay Area orders do not currently permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses, and that is not allowed to begin on Friday, May 8,” Bay Area officials said.

This afternoon, Gov. Newsom laid out the beginning of phase two of reopening California that allows businesses in retail, manufacturing and logistics to resume as long as they follow new public health rules. The easing comes as Newsom reveals the state is looking at a budget shortfall of $54.3 billion due to the pandemic, a stark contrast to the $21 billion surplus the state experienced last year. Under the new state directive, stores selling items like books, clothing, toys and flowers can reopen for curbside pickup starting Friday using contactless payment and other safety procedures. Manufacturing with social distancing can also resume in phase 2, but not dine-in restaurants, gyms or offices.

But the new state rules do not override the existing public health orders that cover Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

On Monday, May 4, the Bay Area shelter-in-place orders were revised to loosen some restrictions, including the allowance of all construction and real estate transactions and certain outdoor businesses such as wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers and gardeners. All reopenings come with new rules in place such as social distancing. The Bay Area’s easing, however, doesn’t go as far as Newsom’s directive. Counties are allowed to make decisions at the local level that differ from the state’s.

“In our current environment, if a county order differs from a state order, the more restrictive order takes precedence,” local officials said. “We will continue to study the indicators that tell us how the coronavirus is affecting our communities and amend the health orders as warranted in the best interest of community health. We share the urgency to reopen and restore our economies and our normal activities, and the equal importance of doing so in a way that is safe, responsible and does not cause a significant increase in serious illness and death, or overwhelm our healthcare delivery systems.”

The indicators public health officials are following require sufficient testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and the ability for the healthcare system to handle a surge in cases.

“We will continue to work with our community and business leaders to accomplish careful, measured progress that allows us to maintain our gains as we move forward to further reopening and better times ahead,” officials said.

Read the full Bay Area health order, which is effective through May 31, here.

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