Statewide COVID-19 case spike has San Mateo County back to red tier

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A sharp increase in COVID-19 cases across the nation and state has Gov. Gavin Newsom rolling back reopening plans statewide, prompting a return to red-tier restrictions in San Mateo County starting Tuesday.

Monday’s order from the governor and public health officials require 28 counties to fall back to the purple, or “widespread,” tier of California’s color-coded system. In total, 41 counties are in the purple tier, which is the most restrictive of the four tiers. Nine California counties, including San Mateo and San Francisco counties, are returning to the lesser-restrictive red, or “substantial” tier. In total, 11 counties are in the red tier, four are in the orange, or “moderate” tier (Sierra, Lassen, Calavares and Inyo) and two counties (Mariposa and Alpine) are in the yellow, or “minimal” tier.

Under the red tier, non-essential offices must close and go back to operating remotely, while indoor retail shops and shopping centers are required to have a maximum capacity of 50 percent occupancy. Places of worship, movie theaters and museums were allowed up to 50 percent capacity under the orange tier, but are restricted to 25 percent capacity under the red tier. Gyms and fitness centers allow up to 25 percent capacity under the orange, but under the red tier they are further restricted to 10 percent capacity. Also under the red tier, indoor card rooms are no longer allowed.

The county’s transition back to the red tier does not impact the operation of schools.

To view activities allowed within each tier, see below or click here.

The state also strengthened its face covering guidance “to require individuals to wear a mask whenever outside their home, with limited exceptions,” the governor’s office said.

Daily cases in California have doubled, according to the governor’s office.

“California is experiencing the fastest increase in cases we have seen yet –faster than what we experienced at the outset of the pandemic or even this summer,” Gov. Newsom said. “The spread of COVID-19, if left unchecked, could quickly overwhelm our health care system and lead to catastrophic outcomes.”

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