Today, five Bay Area counties and the City of Berkeley collectively decided to implement California’s new regional ‘stay home’ order, effective Sunday, even though the region hasn’t yet reached the ICU capacity threshold to trigger the state’s order.
San Mateo County, however, will not implement the stay-home order “at this time,” as County officials have opted instead to follow the state’s current metrics and process while urging residents to comply with existing safety measures — especially avoiding gatherings — to slow the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday season.
“The measures we are taking emphasize individual and collective responsibility,” Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s Health Officer, said in a statement. “With the vaccine coming soon, now more than ever, this is a critical time to stay focused on the key behaviors that protect our communities.”
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 surge, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced a new Regional Stay Home Order for state regions with less than 15 percent ICU capacity. The Bay Area region, with 25.3 percent ICU capacity as of Thursday, according to state data, does not need to immediately implement a stay-home order. But with projections that the region could dip below 15 percent later this month, health officers for Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and the City of Berkeley opted to implement the stay-home order anyway.
San Mateo County remains under purple tier restrictions, and County officials are urging residents to take the necessary measures to ensure a stay-home order won’t be needed.
“Like all of the region, the state and the nation, San Mateo County is experiencing increased COVID-19 cases, particularly among young adults,” County officials said. “The transmission is substantially driven by indoor social gatherings and insufficient face covering.”
Added County Manager Michael Callagy, “We know our residents have sacrificed and patience is growing thin, but we need you to know that you have the power to curb the spread and preserve hospital capacity for those who will need care in the coming weeks. We can get through this together if each of us takes action now to social distance, wear face coverings and avoid gatherings.”
Once a region falls below 15 percent, a minimum three-week stay-at-home order would take effect instructing Californians to stay at home as much as possible, prohibiting gatherings of any size and closing or imposing capacity restrictions at many businesses except for critical infrastructure. Travel about town would be allowed only for critical services such as shopping for groceries or visiting a doctor, but the new order allows outdoor activities to preserve physical and mental health. Under the stay-home order, playgrounds must close, as well as hair salons and barbershops, personal care services, museums, movie theaters, and bars, among others. Both indoor and outdoor dining would be prohibited, although takeout and delivery services would be allowed. Indoor retail would be allowed at 20 percent capacity.
“We acknowledge the reality of the pandemic fatigue that residents are experiencing and the need to find sources of support through this challenging period. Our collective focus must be on finding ways to support each other through this crisis safely while limiting gathering and adhering to face covering,” said Louise Rogers, Chief of County Health.