San Mateo County returns to orange tier for first time since October

in Community

The state has moved San Mateo County from the red tier to the less-restrictive orange tier of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy system, effective at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.  It’s the first time the county will be in the orange tier since October. The county has been in the red tier for three weeks.

In the orange tier, restaurants, museums, movie theaters and places of worship can expand indoor capacity to 50 percent, while gyms, fitness centers, family entertainment centers and wineries can expand capacity to 25 percent. See more information on what’s open below.

“The county moved to the orange ‘moderate’ tier due to two metrics calculated by the state: the adjusted case rate has fallen to 2.8 per 100,000 in population and test positivity rate, excluding prisons, is 1.1 per 100,000,” according to the County. “The health equity quartile positivity rate is 1.9 per 100,000 in population. The health equity quartile measures rates of infection with the virus in the county’s most disadvantaged communities based on the California Health Places Index.”

With the move to orange tier, the following is now allowed:

Shopping malls: Can open indoors with modifications

  • Closed common areas
  • Reduced capacity food courts

Places of worship: Can open indoors with modifications

  • Open at 50% capacity or 200 people, whichever is fewer

Dine-in restaurants: Can open indoors with modifications

  • Capacity must be limited to 50% or 200 people, whichever is fewer

Offices (non-essential businesses): Can open indoors with modifications

  • Encourage working remotely

Bars/Breweries (where no meal provided): Can open indoors with modifications

  • Capacity must be limited to 25% or 100 people, whichever is less

Movie theaters: Can open indoors with modifications

Gyms & fitness centers, including indoor pools: Can open indoors with modifications

  • Capacity must be limited to 25%
  • Indoor pools can open
  • Indoor hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms must close
  • Climbing walls can open

Family entertainment centers: 

  • Can open indoors for naturally distanced activities, with modifications
  • Capacity must be limited to 25%
  • Bowling alleys and escape rooms allowed
  • Can open outdoors with modifications for activities like kart racing, mini golf, batting cages

Amusement parks and theme parks: Smaller parks can open with modifications

  • Capacity must be limited to 25% or 500 people, whichever is less
  • Outdoor attractions only can open
  • Reservations or advanced ticket sales required
  • Local attendees only (from the same county as the park’s location)
  • Additional activities will be permitted starting April 1, 2021

Hotels, lodging and short-term lodging rentals: Can open with modifications

  • Fitness centers can open to 25% capacity
  • Indoor pools can open
  • ·Indoor hot tubs, saunas and steam rooms must close

Museums, zoos and aquariums: Can open indoors with modifications

  • Indoor activities limited to 50% capacity


  • California has updated the guidance and framework for reopening-12 schools for in-person learning for the 2020-21 school year. Learn more in the K-12 schools reopening framework and guidance. Individuals interested in the potential impact on local schools should contact local school districts.