SAN MATEO COUNTY, CA — What has been expected for days is now official.
San Mateo County announced in a news release Wednesday that it has been added to the state’s watch list due to an increase in the rate of COVID-19 cases.
Before today, it was only Bay Area county and the only coastal county between the Mexican border and Mendocino County that had eluded the more onerous restrictions on businesses and public gatherings that come with being on the state's list.
Unless the county’s case rate rolling dips below the state’s 100 per 100,000 benchmark by Friday, tighter restrictions on businesses will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday.
That’s an unlikely scenario, county officials said, considering its rolling average as of Wednesday was 110.4 cases per 100,000.
If the county exceeds the state’s case rate threshold for three consecutive days, certain industries and activities will be required to shutter unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up.
“County officials believe that the local case rate will not decrease by Saturday and urge businesses and the community to prepare now for the additional restrictions,” county officials said in a statement.
According to state guidelines, most businesses and gatherings would shutter or would have to be modified to operate outdoors or by pick-up.
Fitness centers, places of worship, offices for non-critical sectors, nail salons, barbershops and shopping malls would be among those affected.
Shops that offer tattoos, piercings, and electrolysis may not be operated outdoors and would be required to close.
“We’ve been anticipating being added to the monitoring list as our case rate hovers above the state’s target,” San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement.
“It’s clear that COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and in the Bay Area. It’s vital that we all do everything we can — wearing face coverings, washing our hands, and avoiding gatherings — to slow and eventually stop to the spread. These individual actions can make a huge difference.”
The state provides guidance for personal care services to operate outside that can be viewed here.
On July 17, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that schools in counties on the monitoring list will not be allowed to hold in-class instruction. However, elementary school districts may request a waiver of this prohibition from the health officer.
Counties must remain off the list for 14 consecutive days before schools (absent a waiver) can reopen for in-person learning.
The state has not offered guidelines for when restrictions might be lifted. Additional information from the state may be found here.
Information about the County of San Mateo’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
Full coronavirus coverage: Coronavirus In California: What To Know
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