June 17, 2020
  • Redwood City — With the completion of the variance process with the State of California, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new order to align the county with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap. Businesses in San Mateo County will now follow the state’s schedule for reopening but must adhere to the local order’s COVID-19 safety measures and follow state guidance.

    The local shelter in place order of June 4, 2020, has been rescinded and replaced with a new health officer order emphasizing individual behavior and the practices businesses must follow as they resume operations. The new order is effective immediately.

    The June 17, 2020, order limits gatherings to no more than 50 people, outlines social distancing and face covering requirements, allows for social bubbles, and requires businesses to implement a social distancing protocol and written health and safety plans.

    “We are moving away from opening businesses according to certain categories and instead focusing on behaviors and practices,” said Dr. Morrow. “As we ease restrictions, the power to control the spread of the virus lies with individuals and communities. Collective behavior will determine our destiny. If enough people, businesses, or organizations in the community do not follow the protective recommendations, the virus may spread with abandon.”


    The requirements for businesses are outlined in the order and appendix. [link]

    With the local order taking immediate effect, according to state guidelines, the following businesses may now produce and post health and safety plans and resume operations:

    •                Dine-in restaurants

    •                Hair salons and barber shops

    •                Casinos

    •                Family entertainment centers

    •                Restaurants, wineries and bars

    •                Zoos and museums

    •                Gyms and fitness centers

    •                Hotels (for tourism and individual travel)

    •                Cardrooms and racetracks

    •                Campgrounds and outdoor recreation

    Per the state’s guidelines, personal services like nail salons, body waxing, and tattoo parlors may create safety plans and resume operations on June 19, 2020.

    Additional information from the state may be found here:


    Businesses are also required to adhere to industry-specific guidelines from the state, which may be found here:


    And here:


    As the state continues to allow additional activities and businesses in variance counties, the local order intends that those activities and businesses will automatically be allowed in San Mateo County, subject to additional behavioral restrictions to reduce the rate of transmission COVID-19. The health officer will continually assess the order and may modify it if the risk associated with COVID-19 increases.


    As the county follows the state Roadmap, face covering and social distancing requirements remain in place. Face coverings are required inside or in line to enter businesses such as grocery stores and laundromats, in hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, and facilities providing veterinary care, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation, including ride shares, Caltrain, and BART.

    The order requires drivers or operators of any public transportation, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle to wear a face covering while driving regardless of whether a member of the public is present due to the need to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the vehicle at all times.

    The order does not require a face covering while driving alone or with members of the same family or household in a vehicle not used commercially.

    For businesses, the order requires employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering in the workplace and off-site when they are interacting in person with the public or working in any public space, like a reception area, restroom or service counter — regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time.

    Face coverings are also required where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution, working in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, and in any room or enclosed area when other people, including co-workers, are present (except for members of the person’s own household or residence).

    Wearing a face covering is recommended but not required for outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling, or running. But social distancing requirements — including maintaining at least six feet of separation from all other people to the greatest extent possible —still hold. For outdoor activities, the order recommends carrying face coverings at all times, since they are required to be worn when six-foot distancing is impossible, such as when passing on a narrow path.

    Any child aged 2 years or less must not wear a face covering at any time because of the risk of suffocation. The order does not require that any child aged 12 years or less wear a face covering.


    A social bubble is a group of twelve or fewer people from different households or living units who have agreed to socialize only with members of their group. A social bubble must be maintained for a minimum of three weeks, and people can only be members of one social bubble at a time. While face coverings and social distancing are always recommended, members of a social bubble do not have to adhere to these requirements when they are with members of their social bubble in outdoor settings.

    The health officer has requested that the sheriff and all police chiefs in the county ensure compliance with and enforcement of this order. Violation of any of its provisions is considered an imminent threat and menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

    •          State of California Resilience Roadmap (website)

    •          Text of the Heath Officer’s Order (PDF)

    •          Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A) (PDF)

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


    Information about San Mateo County’s response to COVID-19 is at www.smcgov.org.