May 15, 2020
  • Redwood City – San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow today issued a new shelter in place order, effective Monday, May 18, to bring the county into alignment with early Phase 2 of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap.

    The new order continues to restrict most activity, travel, and governmental and business functions to essential needs, outdoor activities, and outdoor businesses but adds additional businesses and activities to the list of permitted functions.

    Social distancing measures and face covering requirements remain in effect.

    Selected to conform with State orders for early Phase 2, additional businesses allowed to operate with certain restrictions include retail stores and related retail supply chain operations, such as bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, and florists.

    The new order focuses more on how a business will safely operate if open rather than a category in which it falls.

    Retail businesses may operate for curbside or outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers must not enter the store, and workers must adhere to the social distancing protocols.

    In addition to curbside or outdoor pickup, products must be ordered in advance. Stores must have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk, street, or alley area for pickup without blocking access or creating congestion. Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access such areas may not reopen.

    Businesses involved in manufacturing, warehousing, or logistics may operate only to the extent that they are manufacturing goods or providing support for these retail stores.

    Other businesses that may resume operations include those offering services that do not require close customer contact, such as pet grooming, dog walking, car washes, appliance repair, and residential and janitorial cleaning and plumbing.

    Outdoor museums may open if exhibitions are located outdoors. Staff and customers must wear a face covering at all times, and any indoor components of the museum must remain closed to the public.

    The order also allows for offices to reopen even if they are not considered essential businesses—but only for persons who cannot perform their job duties from home. These businesses must ensure that there is minimal contact with members of the public and no indoor person-to-person commercial activity. They must adhere to social distancing requirements and the face covering order.

    For construction activities, the order provides two appendices that outline comprehensive safety protocols for large and small projects. Among other measures, construction companies must establish a daily screening protocol to ensure that potentially infected staff do not enter the construction site, and companies must follow specific procedures in the event of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at any jobsite. The appendices for construction are unchanged from the previous order.

    The new order removes the previous order’s limit on travel for recreational activities to within 10 miles from home. But to reduce gathering and crowding near the coast, it imposes specific limits on access to the areas west of Highway 1. Between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., all public access to parks, trails, and beaches west of Highway 1 must be initiated from one’s residence and may not involve the use of a motor vehicle to travel (unless necessary to accommodate a physical impairment where the individual’s residence is within reasonable walking distance of the beach). 

    Local authorities are encouraged to close and/or prohibit parking in areas adjacent to beaches to prevent crowds.

    Outdoor facilities with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering must remain closed to public access. Such facilities include playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, spas, and barbecue areas.

    The Allowed Additional Activities appendix includes indoor and outdoor pools. They may open only if they are actively monitored and managed to ensure that facilities are used only by members of the same household or in a manner that ensures that social distancing, face covering, and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment) are enforced.

    The order continues to exempt individuals experiencing homelessness and urges government agencies to provide them shelter.

    “Progress on COVID-19 indicators related to hospital utilization and capacity makes it appropriate, at this time, to allow certain additional businesses and activities to resume with conditions,” said San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. “But I want to remind everyone these modifications to the shelter in place order are not being made because it is safe to be out and about. The virus continues to circulate in our community, and this increase in interactions among people is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate.”

    Dr. Morrow said that the activities allowed by the order will be assessed on an ongoing basis and may need to be modified or restricted if the risk associated with COVID-19 increases in the future.


    Health Officer orders and statements are found at the San Mateo County Health website: