REDWOOD CITY, Calif. – The state of California today announced good news in the local fight against the coronavirus as indoor restaurants, gyms, movie theaters and places of worship may now open with restrictions in San Mateo County.

The county – effective immediately – moves to the second stage (red) of the state’s four-tiered, color-coded reopening system.

Still, the county’s new risk level is considered “substantial” under the state’s monitoring system and officials caution that businesses and individuals must continue to follow health and safety guidelines. San Mateo County’s health order requiring face coverings, social distancing, and limited gatherings remains in effect.

“What this means is that you – the residents of San Mateo County – have made huge sacrifices to help slow the spread of COVID-19,” County Manager Mike Callagy said. “We have precious few moments to celebrate in these unprecedented times. But this is something we should all be happy about now that so many of our businesses can reopen and so many of you can get back to work.”

“This is great news for so many small business owners who have worked so hard to keep their businesses going," said Warren Slocum, President of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors.

“What each and every one of us can do is to commit to patronizing our local businesses," Slocum said. "Let’s be safe, be healthy and help ensure our small businesses are with us today and tomorrow and the future.”

Moving to Tier 2 (Red) allows:

  • Restaurants indoors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
  • All retail indoors (max 50% capacity)
  • Shopping centers, swap meets indoors (max 50% capacity, closed common areas)
  • Personal care services – hair and nail salons, barbershops (open with modifications)
  • Museums, zoos and aquariums (max 25% capacity)
  • Places of worship (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
  • Movie theaters in doors (max 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever is fewer)
  • Gyms and fitness centers indoors (max 10% capacity)
  • And more

Businesses can find guidelines that apply to their industry on the state’s COVID-19 website.

Businesses allowed to reopen or expand operations must follow industry-specific guidelines for health and safety, face covering requirements and social distancing.

Under the tier system, bars, breweries and distilleries where no meals are served remain closed.

Schools: The Road Ahead
The Red Tier 2 also gets schools one step closer to supporting in-person learning, but it will continue to be a gradual process.

First, San Mateo County must stay in the Red Tier 2 for two consecutive weeks. Then, for a return to campus, a school must be able to implement the Four Pillars of the San Mateo County Office of Education’s Pandemic Recovery Framework, including health and hygiene protocols, physical distancing, face coverings, and limiting gatherings.  A COVID-19 testing plan for staff must also be in place. Visit the San Mateo County Office of Education’s website for more details.

Protect Yourself and Others
The reopening of sectors of the economy will increase travel and interaction among people. Public health officials urge everyone to continue to follow health and safety guidelines and to avoid large gatherings of any kind.

“This remains far from over,” said Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County’s Health Officer. “To get out of this situation depends on all of us. Our collective best course of action: No gatherings outside of immediate households, use facial coverings extensively, and social distancing.”

By moving from the Purple Tier 1 (where coronavirus infections are considered “widespread”) to Tier 2, San Mateo County met certain thresholds measured by the state. Every county in California is assigned one of four tiers based on test positivity and the adjusted case rate.*

San Mateo County’s state-calculated case positivity rate was 4.5 percent and the adjusted case rate was 6.6 percent for the week ending September 12.

If San Mateo County does not continue to meet the state’s thresholds, it could be placed again in the more restrictive Purple Tier 1.

Local Data Dashboard
San Mateo County Health has recorded a total of 9,625 cases and 143 deaths since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early March.

To move to the next lower-risk Tier 3 (Orange, in the state’s color-coded system), the County will have to report between 1 to 3.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents per day and a positivity rate between 2-4.9 percent for at least two consecutive weeks.

Expanding Testing Opportunities
The County is working with numerous providers to expand testing opportunities, both for adults and children, Callagy said. Additional opportunities will be announced soon.

Testing is offered through Project Baseline at no-cost and is available to anyone without restriction and without regard to insurance coverage, although an appointment is required in advance. If you don't have access to the internet, an on-site volunteer may be able to help you register and get tested.

Registration opens 72 hours before testing dates. Learn more.

HALF MOON BAY
Our Lady of the Pillar
565 Kelly Avenue
Tuesday, September 22  (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Tuesday, September 29  (9 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

NORTH FAIR OAKS
Stanford Parking Lot
2685 Bay Road
Thursday, September 24  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Friday, September 25  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Thursday, October 1  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Friday, October 2  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

SAN BRUNO
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
975 Sneath Lane
Wednesday, September 23  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)
Wednesday, September 30  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)

SAN MATEO
San Mateo County Event Center
1346 Saratoga Drive
Monday, September 28  (8 a.m. - 3 p.m.)