San Mateo County’s COVID-19 health order has been revised today to allow customers to bring reusable items such as shopping bags and coffee cups to stores.
Under the revised order, stores are allowed to adopt stricter policies and prohibit such items if they wish, County officials said.
At the onset of the pandemic, many counties banned the use of reusable items for fear of spreading COVID-19. Since then, a number of counties have reversed course, with the state of California and San Francisco lifting their reusable bag ban restrictions over the summer. Health experts have argued that COVID-19 is mainly spread from person to person, not via reusable shopping bags, which, they add, are essential in addressing plastic pollution.
The County remains under a regional stay-home order amid a surge in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations that have dropped capacity at the region’s intensive care units to below 15 percent. The stay-home order prohibits private gatherings of any size as well as indoor and outdoor restaurant dining. Retail businesses are limited to 20 percent capacity during the stay-home order, while standalone grocery stores are limited to 35 percent capacity.
To read the full revised order, go here.