General Questions

Please see the below statement from Dr. Morrow regarding the new Order

“I am encouraged that data about COVID-19 cases, hospital capacity, and other indicators show some stability so that San Mateo County can now enter the early stages of Phase 2. I want to remind everyone these modifications 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. Whether these modifications allow the virus to spread out of control, as we saw in February and March and resulted in the first shelter in place order, is yet to be seen. The social distancing and face covering directives, along with the prohibition on gathering, will remain in place since the risk of exposure to COVID-19 looms large for all of us. The public and open businesses need to fully do their part to minimize transmission of the virus.”

View Press Release

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How is the May 18th Order different from the prior Orders?

In alignment with the Governor’s Early Phase 2, the new Order allows a limited number of Additional Businesses and Additional Activities to resume operating, subject to specified conditions and safety precautions to reduce associated risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Five categories of businesses are allowed to operate as Additional Businesses, with conditions specified in Appendix C-1 of the Order:

  • Retail Stores and Retail Supply Chain Businesses. Examples include bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, and florists. Stores can open only for outdoor pick-up. Customers are not allowed inside.
  • Limited Services Which Do Not Require Close Customer Contact. Examples include pet grooming, dog walking, car washes, appliance repair, residential and janitorial cleaning and plumbing. Services must be the type that can be performed with social distancing and face masks at all times.
  • Outdoor Museums. Museums where the exhibits are located outdoors. Indoor exhibits cannot be opened.
  • Offices. But persons may work in offices only when they are unable to perform their job duties from home.
  • State-Identified Essential Businesses. Any business that the State of California has identified as an essential critical infrastructure sector (see https://covid19.ca.gov/essential-workforce/).

Furthermore, indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor recreation areas, and outdoor shared recreation facilities allowed to operate if certain monitoring and management conditions are met, as described in Appendix C-2 of the Order.

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How is the May 3 Order different from the prior March 31 Order?

Prior to the May 18 Order, the County issued an Order that went into effect on May 3. The expansions in the May 3 Order are incorporated in the May 18 Order, which you should read carefully. The May 18 Order supersedes the May 3 Order and is in effect until rescinded, superseded, or amended. This FAQ includes only a general overview of what changed in the May 3 Order, which relaxed conditions on certain Essential Businesses and allowed certain Outdoor Businesses to resume operating.

The following became generally allowed as of May 3 (and remain allowed), however you should consult the FAQs and Order for more detail:

  • Construction (both commercial and residential)
  • Outdoor services such as gardening and landscaping
  • Traditional Outdoor Businesses such as nurseries, outdoor operations, and garden centers
  • Moving services (both commercial and residential)
  • Real estate transactions (with virtual components)
  • Activities in shared recreational spaces that do not involve shared equipment and that allow for social distancing, such as golf courses, skate parks, and athletic fields.

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WHAT ORDERS ARE ADDRESSED IN THESE FAQS?

These FAQs answer questions about the County’s Order effective at 12:01AM on May 18, 2020 which can be found here.

The County’s May 18 Order is intended to fully harmonize the County with the Governor’s Early Phase 2, which can be found here, as to businesses allowed,. The Governor’s Stay Home Order can be found here.

If a business is allowed under the State Shelter Order, the intention is that it is allowed under the County Order. However, this Order provides some additional requirements for how business is performed, primarily by continuing to require development, implementation and posting of a Social Distancing Protocol and requiring operational plans consistent with State guidelines as well as continuing to require that everyone who can work from home be assigned to work from home. This Order also continues to limit the activities people can do and how they do them. It does this by continuing to require people to shelter-in-place, by requiring social distancing and face coverings and prohibiting gatherings, including unnecessary interactions with people outside of a household unit.

However, if there is a divergence between the County’s Order and the State’s Order, the more restrictive Order applies.

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Can the new Order be changed?

Yes. The County Health Officer may make changes to the new Order and issue further directives as more information emerges about the public health situation.

Check this FAQ page and the County website regularly for updates. Statements from the Health Officer are posted here.

The County is working with the media to share important updates and information.

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Who do I contact if I have questions or need nonprofit and social services?

Please call 211 for all non-emergency and non-medical inquiries about the COVID-19 pandemic. 211 offers a bank of resources comprised of nonprofit and social services. These resources include: food pantries, homeless shelters, rental assistance, mortgage assistance, and utility assistance. However, 211 cannot guarantee eligibility for these services or goods.

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What is the intent of the Order?

The primary intent of this Order is to ensure that County residents continue to shelter in their places of residence to slow the spread of COVID-19 and mitigate the impact on delivery of critical healthcare services. All provisions of the Order must be interpreted to effectuate this intent.

The most recent Order allows certain Additional Businesses to re-open in alignment with the State’s Early Phase 2. From the Health Officer: “These modifications are being made in attempt to strike a balance. They are an attempt to find a way to increase the immunity of the population (in public health terms, this is called “herd immunity”) slowly and methodically, while minimizing death, with equity in mind, while not overloading the healthcare system, and minimizing economic damage. Many of these considerations work in opposite directions. These modifications are not being made because it is safe to be out and about. The virus continues to circulate in our community, and the increase in interactions among people that these modifications allow is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate. Whether these modifications allow the virus to spread out of control, as we saw in February and March and resulted in the first shelter in place order, is yet to be seen. The risk of exposure to COVID-19 looms large for all of us. The public and open businesses need to fully do their part to minimize transmission of the virus.”

Please be patient and kind to one another. Together, we will get through this, and our community’s health will be protected

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What does it mean to “shelter in place” and how is that different from “social distancing”?

“Social distancing” is a practice to be used when you leave the house for Essential and Additional Activities, Essential and Additional Business, Outdoor Business, Essential Travel, or Minimum Basic Operations as allowed under the County’s Order. “Social Distancing Requirements” includes maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit, washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds as frequently as possible or using hand sanitizer, covering coughs or sneezes (with a tissue or fabric if possible or into the sleeve or elbow), wearing a face covering when out in public consistent with orders or guidance of the Health Officer, and avoiding all social interaction outside of the household when experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.

The term “shelter in place” means to stay in your home and not leave unless allowed under the County’s Order.

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The Governor issued a shelter in place order. Do I still need to comply with San Mateo County’s Order?

Yes. All County residents must comply with the County’s Order, the Governor’s Order, and any applicable laws and regulations. While the two Orders are consistent, if there is a difference between the Orders, you must comply with the more restrictive Order.

But the County’s May 18 Order was intended to be in alignment with the Governor’s Order, at the time it was issued.

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WHAT RELIEF WILL BE GIVEN TO NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND WORKERS?

On March 24, 2020, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors approved $3,000,000 in emergency funding to support those most impacted in San Mateo County in partnership with the Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Funds will benefit San Mateo County residents, small businesses and non-profits. Please see this website for details: https://www.smcstrong.org/

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How long is the Order in effect?

The County’s Order is in effect from 12:01AM on May 18 until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Health Officer. The Health Officer continues to closely monitor COVID-19 indicators and other data and is continually assessing whether and to what extent the County can ease restrictions to provide more flexibility and freedom for County residents.

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Should I stock up on food, necessities like toilet paper, and on medicines?

No. You will continue to be able to purchase these items whenever you need them, as stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will remain open.

Continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally do. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone.

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Do I have to perform social distancing at home with my family?

What happens if I don’t comply with this order?

The intent of the Order is to protect the safety of our local community, particularly for vulnerable individuals. Voluntary compliance from County residents has been laudable and has led to progress in slowing the transmission rate of COVID-19. Violations of the Order are punishable through fines or imprisonment.

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Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?

It is mandatory. This Order is a legal Order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a misdemeanor crime not to follow the Order (although the intent is not for anyone to get into trouble).

It is critical for everyone to follow the Order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect themselves, their loved ones, friends, neighbors and the whole community.

All persons, businesses, and other entities are required to comply if they do not fall within the exemptions that are specified in the Order.

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What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are permitted to pick up any of your needs. Please also contact 211 if you do not have family or friends who can drop off food and supplies, the operators can connect you with a local aide to assist.

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Can I apply for unemployment?

If your employer has reduced your hours or shut down operations due to COVID-19, you may be able to file a claim for unemployment insurance. You can find information here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

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I had tickets to an event, will I get my money back?

You will have to work with the host of your event to see if the event is rescheduled or your money will be refunded.

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How can I find shelter if I am experiencing homelessness?

People who are experiencing homelessness are encouraged to try to stay with family or friends, identify housing options, or access emergency resources such as shelter. They can also call 211 or one of the Core Service Agencies located throughout San Mateo County. Core Service Agencies provide clients with safety net services, including for homeless shelter referrals, based on an evaluation of each client’s needs and situation. It's recommended to contact the Core Service Agency by phone. Find the list of Core Service Agencies here:
https://hsa.smcgov.org/emergency-safety-net-assistance-core-service-agencies

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Can I be evicted from my house or apartment while the shelter-in-place order is in effect?

On March 24, 2020, the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors adopted an emergency regulation that places a temporary Countywide moratorium on evictions from residential units for (1) non-payment of rent by tenants directly impacted by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; and (2) certain no-fault causes unless the eviction is necessary for the health and safety of the tenant, other residents in the tenant’s building, the landlord, or the landlord’s family. The moratorium applies County-wide and it covers the 20 cities in San Mateo County, as well as the unincorporated areas of the County. The emergency regulation takes effect immediately and, unless extended by the Board of Supervisors, the emergency regulation will expire on May 31, 2020. Tenants will have up to 180 days after the expiration of the emergency regulation to pay the delayed rents that were not paid while the emergency regulation was in effect.

For details about the regulation, please visit: https://housing.smcgov.org/covid-19-smc-eviction-regulations

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WHAT IF I CANNOT WORK?

If you’re unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you may be able to file a claim for Disability Insurance. Depending on your situation, you might also be able to apply for Unemployment. You can find information here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

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Healthcare Operations

Can Healthcare suppliers continue to operate?

WHAT SERVICES ARE CONSIDERED HEALTHCARE OPERATIONS?

Healthcare Operations, which are considered Essential Businesses and may continue to operate, include but are not limited to: hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services, veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.

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CAN DENTISTS AND ORTHODONTISTS SEE PATIENTS?

Yes. They are classified as Healthcare Operations, and all Healthcare Operations are considered Essential Businesses and may continue to operate.

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I’m a medical provider – am I allowed to remain open for preventive and non-urgent care?

Yes, your office is encouraged to remain open. Under the Order, all medical services, including routine and preventive care, are considered essential. This includes, but is not limited to: mental health services, immunizations, well-woman exams, allergy shots, eye exams, physical therapy, and surgeries.

Many visits involve exams or procedures that must be done in person, but practitioners are encouraged to conduct appointments remotely via phone or telemedicine when it is appropriate and feasible to do so.

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CAN I CONTINUE TO USE REFLEXOLOGY, MASSAGE THERAPY, CHIROPRACTIC, ACUPUNCTURE OR SIMILAR SERVICES?

You may continue to use these services if your healthcare provider has determined that they are medically necessary for you.

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Can I donate blood if I am healthy?

Yes. Blood banks, blood donation centers, and blood drives are exempt Healthcare Operations. If you are healthy and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you are encouraged to donate. The need for adequate blood donations from healthy people is critical.

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Are hospital cafeterias allowed to operate?

Yes. Hospital cafeterias fall within the exemption for healthcare facilities and may remain open. They must be structured to ensure six-foot minimum distancing between non-related individuals picking up food from or eating in the facility. Hospital cafeterias should increase cleaning and sanitization to minimize risk of exposure and follow other Social Distancing Requirements specified in the Order to the maximum extent feasible.

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Does the Order prevent companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19 from continuing to do that work?

No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19.

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What mental health resources are available for people experiencing distress?

The following resources are available to help people who may be experiencing distress or heightened anxiety right now:

  • 24/7 Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS) ACCESS Call Center: (800) 686-0101
  • BHRS Crisis Line: (650) 579-350 Text START to 741741
  • Suicide and Crisis Hotline 24/7: (855) 278-4204
  • BHRS Alcohol & Other Drug Services: (650) 802-6400
  • If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 immediately.

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What should I do if I’m sick and need to go to the hospital or a medical provider? How can I protect others?

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to your closest emergency room. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. If it is not an emergency, please contact your primary care provider to determine next steps. Also, you can check online resources to help assess symptoms if you are worried about whether you or a loved one has COVID-19. You should check www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ for more information.

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CAN A COMPANY THAT COLLECTS UNWANTED MEDICINE FROM RESIDENTS THROUGH COLLECTION KIOSKS LOCATED AT PHARMACIES, HOSPITALS, CLINICS, AND LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES IN THE COUNTY OF SAN MATEO CONTINUE?

Yes. The operation of picking up medication and properly disposing of the medication would fall under a healthcare operation, and therefore is an essential business that can continue.

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MY FAMILY MEMBER IS SICK, CAN I GET SICK LEAVE TO TAKE CARE OF THEM?

If you’re unable to work because you are caring for a sick or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional), you may be able to file a claim for Paid Family Leave. You can find information here: https://www.edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019.htm

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CAN I PICK UP MY PRESCRIPTIONS?

Yes. Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed and encouraged to operate. When possible, you should have prescription medicines and healthcare supplies delivered to your home.

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I RECEIVE MENTAL HEALTH TREATMENT. CAN I STILL GO TO THEIR OFFICE?

Yes. You should try to receive services via telephone or teleconferencing. If that is not feasible or appropriate, participation may occur in-person in accordance with Social Distance Requirements to the greatest extent feasible.

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Child Care

CAN BABY SITTERS AND NANNIES KEEP WORKING AND AM I ALLOWED TO HIRE THEM?

Yes. The County’s Order allows home-based care for seniors, adults, or children. This includes babysitters and nannies. It is not advisable to use a caregiver who is caring for children in multiple households.

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Does the order affect my joint custody arrangement for caring for my children?

No, the Order permits travel for custody arrangements as Essential Travel.

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Can childcare facilities continue to operate?

Yes, childcare facilities are open to all children. In addition to childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children of all ages are also allowed to operate. To the extent possible and compliant with any licensing requirements, these operations must also comply with the following conditions:

  • They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day and for at least four consecutive weeks).
  • Children shall not change from one group to another or attend more than one childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational instruction or program simultaneously.
  • If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate rooms or spaces that cannot be accessed by children or adults outside the stable group. Groups shall not mix with each other.
  • Providers, educators and other staff cannot serve more than one group of children and shall remain solely with that group of children during the duration of the childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational institution or program.

The requirements above serve the purpose of limiting the co-mingling of various households and creating stable childcare groups (or in effect, a contained “second household”). To minimize interactions and keep the childcare “households” stable, this Order would not allow a child to attend two separate care settings at the same (for example, a morning camp and a different afternoon camp). Similarly, a caregiver could not care for more than one group of children at the same time, and could not alternate groups (for example, Group A on MWF and Group B on Tu/Thurs) at the same time.

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Construction

What construction is allowed?

All residential and commercial construction can proceed, including new projects, as long as the construction is permitted under the Governor’s Order and the construction site complies with all Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendix B (B-1 for small construction projects and B-2 for large construction projects) of the County’s Order.

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Is residential construction allowed?

Yes, all residential construction can proceed, including new projects, as long as the construction is permitted under the Governor’s Order and the construction site complies with all Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendix B (B-1 for small construction projects and B-2 for large construction projects) of the County’s Order.

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Is commercial construction allowed?

Yes, all commercial construction can proceed, including new projects, as long as the construction is permitted under the Governor’s Order and the construction site complies with all Construction Safety Protocols listed in Appendix B (B-1 for small construction projects and B-2 for large construction projects) of the County’s Order.

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Can companies that manufacture components for building new homes continue to operate?

Yes, because they supply Essential Businesses.

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Essential Travel

I work for an Essential Business. Do I need to have a letter from my employer or other documentation to travel?

No. You do not need to carry official documentation (and the County does not issue any) demonstrating that you are exempt under the new Order. But be prepared to explain if requested by law enforcement why your travel is allowable under the Order.

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Can I travel for a court-ordered visit with my kids?

Yes. The Order exempts travel by court order or law enforcement.

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What is Essential Travel?

Essential Travel means travel for any of the following purposes:

  • Travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, Minimum Basic Operations, Outdoor Activities, Outdoor Businesses, Additional Activities, and Additional Businesses.
  • Travel to care for any elderly, minors, dependents, or persons with disabilities.
  • Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  • Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the County.
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  • Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.
  • Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial.
  • Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
  • Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
  • Travel for parental custody arrangements.
  • Travel to a place to temporarily reside in a residence or other facility to avoid potentially exposing others to COVID-19, such as a hotel or other facility provided by a governmental authority for such purposes.
  • Travel to participate in a vehicle-based gathering as permitted by the Vehicle-Based Gathering Order.

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Can I use a bike from a bike-share service?

Yes, you can use shared bikes and scooters for Essential Travel, such as commuting to work at Essential and Additional Businesses. But keep in mind that shared bikes and scooters are not routinely sanitized. Take precautions, including bringing sanitization wipes, not touching your face while on the bike or scooter, and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds immediately after.

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If I’m outside the County, am I allowed to come home?

Yes, you can travel as necessary to return to your home.

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The Order prohibits non-essential travel on foot or bike – can I still go on a walk or take a bike ride?

Yes, outdoor recreation activities such as walking and biking are allowed.

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What if I work in a different county that is not implementing this type of order?

If you work in a county that is not implementing similar restrictions and cannot work from home, please practice Social Distancing Requirements while at work to the extent feasible and comply with the Order while in San Mateo County.

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Can I use ride share or on-demand service or a taxi?

Yes, but only for Essential Travel. Social Distancing Requirements must be followed to the greatest extent feasible. Sharing rides with other passengers should be avoided.

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Can I take public transport (bus, subway, train)?

Yes, but only for Essential Travel. Public transit will continue to operate on a limited basis. Social Distancing Requirements must be followed to the greatest extent feasible. You should maintain at least 6 feet (about two to three steps away), including when on the bus or train.

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A family member recently passed away. Can I travel to deal with after-death arrangements?

We are sorry for your loss. Yes, you can do so under the Order.

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My home environment is abusive, do I still have to shelter in place?

No, we want you to be safe and healthy. If your home environment is abusive, we encourage you to find a safe space. Please contact CORA at 800-300-1080 (operated 24 hours a day) for additional information regarding safe and supportive housing.

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Essential Activities

Is tennis allowed?

Yes, with conditions. Indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor recreation areas, and outdoor shared recreation facilities (including tennis courts) may be opened, but only if they are actively monitored and managed to ensure that the facility is either:

  • Only used by members of the same household, or
  • Used in a manner that ensures that all social distancing, face covering and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment), including Health Officer orders, are enforced. Any measures put in place must be reflected in the required posted written protocols.

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CAN MY CHILD PLAY IN A SPORTS LEAGUE?

No, sports leagues are not allowed under the Order. Sports activities are only permitted between members of a household or living unit.

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CAN MY CHILD PLAY SPORTS IN A SPORTS OR SUMMER CAMP?

It is possible, but it is a complicated issue. Contact sports and sports with shared equipment, when not limited to members of a household or living unit, are prohibited under the Order. Camps are allowed, if they meet the following requirements:

  • They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day and for at least four consecutive weeks).
  • Children shall not change from one group to another or attend more than one childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational instruction or program simultaneously.
  • If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate rooms or spaces that cannot be accessed by children or adults outside the stable group. Groups shall not mix with each other.
  • Providers, educators and other staff cannot serve more than one group of children and shall remain solely with that group of children during the duration of the childcare establishment, summer camp, other educational or recreational institution or program.

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What outdoor recreation activities are allowed?

Permitted activities include (1) engaging in outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, running or bicycling in compliance with Social Distancing requirements and other limitations in the Order, and (2) sports and activities that involve the use of shared equipment or physical contact only if solely within members of a household or living unit.

Use of certain outdoor recreational areas and facilities (that are high-touch or encourage gathering), such as playgrounds, gym equipment, climbing walls, picnic areas, dog parks, pools, spas, and barbecue areas are prohibited outside of residences.

Indoor and outdoor pools, and certain outdoor recreation areas/facilities may be opened, but only if they can be actively monitored and managed to ensure that the facility is either (1) only used by members of the same household or (2) used in a manner that ensures that all social distancing, face covering and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment), including Health Officer orders, are enforced. Any measures put in place must be reflected in the required posted written protocols.

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Is recreational biking ok?

Yes, recreational biking for health qualifies as an Essential Activity.

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CAN I MOVE MY HOME?

Yes. When moving into or out of the Bay Area region, individuals are strongly urged to quarantine for 14 days. To quarantine, individuals should follow the guidance of the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Can I go to the beach?

Yes, with conditions. Outdoor recreation activity at parks, beaches, and other open spaces must comply with any restrictions on access and use established by the Health Officer, government, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding, prevent use of shared equipment outside a household and risk of transmission of COVID-19. Such restrictions may include, but are not limited to, restricting the number of entrants, closing the area to vehicular access and parking, or closure to all public access. Parks, beaches, and other open spaces that remain open must be actively monitored and managed by the appropriate authority and subject to the following:

  • Between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 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 to any such recreational area (unless necessary to accommodate a physical impairment where the individual’s residence is within reasonable walking distance of the beach). The purpose of this limitation is to ameliorate the continued gathering and crowding in the parks, trails, and beaches near the coast;
  • Beach parking may be closed to the public. Further, local authorities are authorized and encouraged to close and/or prohibit as much parking in areas adjacent to beaches as necessary to prevent crowds; and
  • Beaches are to be used only for running, walking, cycling, water sports, or other form of physical activity. The following items are prohibited for use or possession on a beach: umbrellas; shade structures; tents; BBQs and grills; coolers; chairs, hammocks, and other conveyances designed to sit and or lounge.

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CAN I STILL GET DELIVERIES FROM ONLINE STORES? CAN I ORDER FROM ONLINE STORES?

Yes. The mail and other delivery services to your home can continue to function, as can food delivery services. You can place more orders from online stores. Businesses that deliver goods or services directly to residences are essential businesses that may continue to operate.

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Can I take my dog to the dog park?

No. Dog parks are areas that encourage people to gather together, and are required to close.

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I don’t cook — how can I purchase meals?

Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments are encouraged to remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.

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How can I access free or reduced-price meals for myself or my family?

Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food or meals to the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. You must pick up and take away the food or have it brought to you. Do not eat on the premises.

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Can I travel to donate blood and/or plasma?

Yes, blood banks and blood drives are considered Healthcare Operations so that is allowed under the Order. In addition to donating blood, you can work or volunteer for blood banks or blood drives.

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Can I still go to the post office or private mailbox to pick up my mail?

Yes, that is allowed under the Order as long as you comply with Social Distancing Requirements, which include maintaining at least six-foot distancing from individuals who are not part of the same household or living unit; frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer recognized by the CDC, covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, if not possible, into the sleeve or elbow, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.

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Can I drive around for fun and/or just to get out of the house?

No, it is not allowed under the Order.

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I have my student's driving permit. Now that there are less cars on the road, is it okay if I practice driving during this time? I would be alone in the car and would not interact with anyone outside the car.

No, it is not allowed under the Order. It is not considered an essential activity and will ultimately result in more contact and interaction (you will need to get gas and might need car repairs, etc).

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Can I socialize with friends indoors if we stay 6 feet apart?

No, it is not an essential activity and is not allowed under the Order.

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Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities?

Yes. Be sure that you protect them and you by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

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I don’t have a washer/dryer in my home. Can I leave to do laundry?

Yes, you can go to a laundromat, dry cleaners, and other laundry service providers.

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Can my family go camping during the order?

No. Camping is not permitted under the Order as it is not an essential activity. Although it is an outdoor activity, we are asking people to shelter at home to reduce the likelihood of transmission. Camping is not the act of sheltering at home.

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CAN I VISIT LOVED ONES IN THE HOSPITAL, NURSING HOME, SKILLED NURSING FACILITY, OR OTHER RESIDENTIAL CARE FACILITY?

It is strongly recommended that you do not go to a hospital unless you are seeking emergency medical attention or accompanying a minor who is under 18 years old or someone who is developmentally disabled and needs assistance.

On March 11, 2020, San Mateo County Health Officer issued a Health Order barring unauthorized visitors and non-essential personnel from licensed skilled nursing facilities in the county. Please use alternative ways to communicate with loved ones at nursing homes and residential care facilities. Like facetime and texting. The residents at those locations are the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

This is difficult, but it is necessary in order to protect hospital staff and other patients.

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I have a citizenship test. Can I still go take my test?

Essential government functions are determined by the government entity that has jurisdiction. In this case, the federal government will determine whether citizenship tests are going forward. Please contact the appropriate government agency administering the test to determine whether you should appear. If required to appear, practice strong hygiene and social distancing.

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Do I have to report to jury duty?

The courts are under the jurisdiction of the State of California. Please call the number on your jury service form for instructions as to whether you should appear. If required to appear, practice strong hygiene and social distancing.

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How do I prove that I am allowed to be outside?

The order contemplates that citizens will adhere to their civic duty and follow the order for the greater good of the community and comply with the Order. At this time there is no requirement of proof that you are allowed to be outside your residence.

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DOES THE ORDER PREVENT PEOPLE OVER AGE 65 FROM WORKING?

No. But people at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 and people who are sick are strongly urged to stay in their residence to the greatest extent possible, except as necessary to seek or provide medical care or Essential Governmental Functions.

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Can I leave home to visit friends or family members if there is no urgent need?

No. For your safety as well as their safety, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

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Can I go buy pet food or take my pet to the vet?

Can I go for a walk in my neighborhood?

Yes, but perform social distancing

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Can I still go to church, synagogue, or mosque?

No. Places of worship have not been exempted as essential activities under the order. However, places of worship can still provide services listed in the order as essential such as food banks and funerals up to 10 people. Additionally, Places of worship may offer remote access to services, such as by emails, video streaming, or teleconference.

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Can religious organizations have people come in to set up virtual services?

Yes, this activity would be permitted so long as it complies with the Order’s Social Distancing Requirements. The County’s Order allows businesses to continue Minimum Basic Operations and indicates that employees can, while complying with Social Distancing requirements, undertake activities that will facilitate remote work.

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CAN A PUBLIC OR PRIVATE POOL STAY OPEN?

Yes, with conditions. Indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor recreation areas, and outdoor shared recreation facilities may be opened, but only if they are actively monitored and managed to ensure that the facility is either:

  • Only used by members of the same household, or
  • Used in a manner that ensures that all social distancing, face covering and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment), including Health Officer orders, are enforced. Any measures put in place must be reflected in the required posted written protocols.

Locker room must be closed. In as much as locker rooms contain bathrooms, the bathrooms can be accessible if they are adequately managed and cleaned between uses.

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WHAT SPORTS CAN I PLAY?

You can engage in outdoor recreation activity, including, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, bicycling, and running, in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements. Sports or activities that include the use of shared equipment or physical contact may only be engaged in by members of the same household or living unit. Examples (not an exhaustive list) would include playing soccer, basketball, football or badminton with your household members in your own backyard.

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My wedding is scheduled next week at my church, can it still go on?

I OWN A STORE, CAN I PICK UP MY MAIL FROM MY STORE?

The County’s Order allows for Minimum Basic Operations while complying with Social Distancing requirements that would facilitate and enable employees to work remotely from their residences. If picking up the mail is necessary for that purpose, it is allowed under the Order.

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WHAT DO I DO IF MY EMPLOYER REQUIRES ME TO GO TO WORK?

This response addresses two questions. First, is your employer permitted to continue operations under the Order? Second, are you in violation of the Order if you work?

Regarding the first question, many private businesses are not permitted to operate under the County’s Order. Essential Businesses, as defined in the Order, are allowed (and encouraged) to continue operating. If your employer is not an Essential Business, your employer should not be asking you to go to work, except to sustain Minimum Basic Operations, as that term is defined in the County’s Order. Examples of Essential Businesses include: gas stations, pharmacies, business that sell food (e.g., grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants), hardware stores/plumbers, some construction, banks, and laundromats/laundry services. There are many others. Please refer to the Order for a complete description of Essential Businesses and these FAQs for specific questions about whether certain businesses are essential. It can be complicated, and it is up to your employer to decide whether it is an Essential Business and what is necessary for Minimum Basic Operations.

Regarding the second question, if your employer permits you to work from home, that is not a violation of the Order. But if you believe your employer is violating the Order and you do not wish to work, you can consider contacting a lawyer. If you are sick, you should seek medical advice

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CAN I VOLUNTEER?

People can volunteer for organizations allowed to operate under the Order, e.g., businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals. But volunteers should still adhere to Social Distancing Requirements as described in the Order (like staying 6 feet apart, hand washing/sanitizing, cleaning high-touch surface areas) and any other protocols the volunteer service organization has put in place. It is highly recommended that high risk populations (like persons over 60 years old or persons with underlying health conditions, etc.) should stay at home. If a person has a fever, a cough, and shortness of breath, they should consult with a medical professional.

The following organizations in San Mateo County have indicated that they are looking for volunteers.

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CAN I STILL GO TO MY SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT GROUPS (E.G. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS OR NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS) OR OTHER GROUP COUNSELING SESSIONS?

All participants in group counseling services must attend meetings remotely if they are equipped to do so. Groups should make accommodations for remote support to the maximum extent feasible. If remote participation is not feasible or advisable under the circumstances, participation may occur in person provided that there is compliance with the social distancing requirements set forth in the Order, including maintaining at least 6-foot distance between individuals and limiting group size to reduce in-person interactions.

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Can I go to a restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food. You cannot dine, eat, or drink in or around the facility.

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Additional Activities

WHAT ACTIVITIES ARE ALLOWED AS “ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES”?

In light of progress achieved in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the County of San Mateo and neighboring counties, this Order allows certain specified Additional Activities to resume, subject to specified conditions and safety precautions.

  1. Indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor recreation areas, and outdoor shared recreation facilities may be opened, but only if they are actively monitored and managed to ensure that the facility is either:
    • only used by members of the same household, or
    • used in a manner that ensures that all social distancing, face covering and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment), including Health Officer orders, are enforced. Any measures put in place must be reflected in the required posted written protocols.
  2. You are permitted to obtain goods, services, or supplies from, or perform work for, Additional Businesses identified in Appendix C-1 subject to the conditions set forth in the Order. Additional Businesses include curbside/outside pickup at retail stores, outdoor museums, offices, state-identified essential businesses and limited services that do not require close customer contact.

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WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR ENGAGING IN ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES?

Additional Activities are permitted as long as participants comply with the limitations and conditions set forth in the Order: Indoor and outdoor pools, outdoor recreation areas, and outdoor shared recreation facilities must be actively managed and monitored in a manner that ensures that the social distancing, face covering and all other requirements (including the prohibitions against gathering and shared equipment), in the Health Officer orders, are enforced. Facilities must also comply with industry-specific guidance.

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Essential Businesses

Can laundromats, dry cleaners, and other laundry services operate?

Yes. They are Essential Businesses under the Order.

Additionally, the Governor has issued the following statewide guidance for Limited Services, which should be followed and can be found here.

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When will restaurants be allowed to re-open indoor and/or outdoor seating?

Restaurants are currently restricted to delivery and carry-out services under the County’s Order, which is intended to align with the Governor’s Early Stage 2. The County cannot allow sit-down meals at restaurants at this time and until the Governor permits. Restaurants should consider planning how to re-configure their regular operations to allow for social distancing and may refer to the State’s industry guidance.

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I NEED TO TAKE OUT A LOAN OR SEND CASH – WHAT KINDS OF FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS ARE ALLOWED TO BE OPEN?

In addition to banks and credit unions, money remittance services, financing services at pawn shops, check cashing services, money lenders, and similar financial institutions can operate. For businesses that mix a financial service component with a retail or other component, only the financial service can be open. For example, the retails sales portion of pawn shops must remain closed.

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CAN PERSONAL TRAINERS OPERATE? ARE THEY ALLOWED TO TRAIN CLIENTS OUTDOORS?

Personal training is not allowed unless the business operated primarily outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and the training can be done while fully maintaining social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. Personal trainers who do not meet the Outdoor Business definition cannot operate by moving their training sessions outside.

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CAN A BIOTECHNOLOGY COMPANY CONTINUE OPERATIONS?

Yes. Under the County’s Order, a biotechnology company is an Essential Business (it is deemed a Healthcare Operation).

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What if some of the work my business does at its facility is essential and some is non-essential?

Except as provided in Appendix C-1 of the Order, businesses that include an Essential Business component at their facilities alongside non-essential components must, to the extent feasible, scale down their operations to the Essential Business component only. Mixed retail businesses that are otherwise allowed to operate under the County’s Order may continue to stock and sell non-essential products.

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I operate a “big box store” that sells non-essential items (such as clothing) in addition to groceries. Can I keep open the part of my store that sells clothing?

Yes. If your store sells a significant amount of groceries or other essential items, you can keep all store operations open, including sale of non-essential items.

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I operate a large retail store selling largely non-essential items, but we also sell some goods that essential businesses need to operate. Can I keep my retail store open as an essential business that supplies other essential businesses?

Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies they need to operate can remain open only for the purpose of supplying those Essential Businesses.

In addition to directly supplying other Essential Businesses, you can engage in sales to the general public through curbside/outside pickup, subject to the following conditions:

  • These retail stores may operate for curbside/outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers shall not enter the store.
  • Products must be purchased in advance and remotely either by phone, internet or other technology.
  • The stores must have direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area may not reopen at this time.

Please see Appendix C-1 of the Order for further requirements.

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ARE TRUCKING/SHIPPING COMPANIES ALLOWED TO CONTINUE TO OPERATE?

Yes. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services are allowed to operate under the Order.

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Can a company that builds cabinets for residential homes continue to operate?

Yes, because construction (subject to the Governor’s Order and compliance with specified safety protocols) is considered an Essential Business.

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Can stores that sell pet food stay open?

Yes, they may continue to operate under the County’s Order as long as the sale of pet food, pet supplies and/or pet pharmaceuticals is a substantial part of their business. If the business is a retail store that only sells a small amount of these items, it may only provide curbside and outside pickup under the conditions listed in Appendix C-1 of the Order.

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I am a home appraiser. Can I continue to work?

Yes. Service providers, including home appraisers, that enable real estate transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales) can continue to work.

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Can painting of residential homes and/or businesses continue?

Outdoor painting businesses can operate if, prior to March 16, 2020, their operations were primarily outdoors and the business has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons.

If the business doesn’t qualify as an Outdoor Business, it can operate as an Additional Business. Limited services which do not require close customer contact have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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ARE ABA/AUTISM SERVICES EXEMPT FROM THE “SHELTER IN PLACE” ORDER?

Yes. As much as possible, services should be provided remotely. When in-person services are necessary, all persons should comply with Social Distancing Requirements to the extent feasible.

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CAN PLUMBERS, ELECTRICIANS AND HVAC SERVICES CONTINUE TO OPERATE?

Yes, they may continue to operate under the Order.

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CAN NURSERIES REMAIN OPEN?

Yes, if they are an “Outdoor Business” as defined in the Order. An Outdoor Business means that prior to March 16, 2020, its operations were primarily outdoors and the business has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons.

Examples of Outdoor Businesses include but are not limited to wholesale and retail plant nurseries, agricultural operations, garden centers, landscaping and gardening services, and environmental site remediation services.

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I OWN OR MANAGE A NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESS, WHAT AM I ALLOWED TO DO?

You are permitted to perform Minimum Basic Operations, which means the minimum necessary activities to maintain and protect the value of the business’s inventory and facilities; ensure security, safety, and sanitation; process payroll and employee benefits; provide for the delivery of existing inventory directly to residences or businesses; facilitate owners, personnel, and contractors of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and to ensure that the business can deliver its service remotely.

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CAN CEMETERIES STAY OPEN AND ARE SERVICES ALLOWED?

Yes with conditions. Under the County’s Order, all businesses that are involved with human remains (funeral homes, cemeteries, mortuaries, crematoriums, etc) may continue operations (handling of human remains) as a health and safety exception to the Order. Services with 10 or fewer individuals are permitted as long as all participants comply with Social Distancing and other Covid-19 protective measures.

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Can car washes operate?

Yes, car washes may operate either as an Additional Business.

Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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Are short-term rentals such as Airbnb allowed?

Yes, with conditions. Under the Order, short-term rentals can likely still operate to a limited extent, but individuals should only use short-term rentals when necessary to engage in Essential Travel, Essential and Additional Business, Essential Governmental Functions, Outdoor Business, and Essential Activities. This does not include vacationing, sightseeing, and generally visiting with friends or relatives.

Furthermore, it would be allowable if an individual needed shelter (e.g. to avoid homelessness, domestic violence, or other unsafe conditions) or, in certain narrow situations, needed to self-isolate to avoid infecting or becoming infected by a household member.

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My business mainly sells entertainment products but also sells a few items that can be used by people working at home. Can I still operate?

A business that only tangentially offers products and/or services that support Essential Activities or Essential Businesses cannot continue operations. Businesses should consider what their primary business is and whether it provides significant support to Essential Activities, Essential Businesses or Essential Infrastructure.

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I AM WORKING WITH A BIOTECH COMPANY, THAT IS WORKING ON A COVID-19 TREATMENT IN THE COUNTY AND WORRIED ABOUT THE SHELTER IN PLACE MANDATE SHUTTING DOWN OUR SUPPLIERS.

Suppliers can continue to operate to the extent required to provide essential businesses, such as yours, with necessary supplies.

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CAN BARS THAT SERVE FOOD STAY OPEN?

They can only provide take-out and delivery services.

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Can auto repair shops and bicycle repair shops still operate?

Yes. They are Essential Businesses under the Order.

Additionally, the Governor has issued the following statewide guidance for Limited Services, which should be followed and can be found here.

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Are gun stores defined as an essential business in the County’s Order?

The Order does not reference gun stores at all. However, like all “Additional” retail establishments, if they can sell using an outside pick-up/drive through model and comply with all of the requirements of the Order, they can operate. Like other “Additional” retail establishments, the public is not allowed inside the store.

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Can a housekeeper keep working, and am I allowed to hire them?

Yes. However, cleaning services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service.

Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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I run an Essential Business, as defined by the Order. Do I need to get an official letter of authorization from the County to operate?

No. If your business is on the list of Essential Businesses provided in the County’s Order, then you may operate it in compliance with the County’s Order. You do not need to obtain any specific authorization from the County to do so.

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Can liquor stores remain open?

In some circumstances, yes.

The Order allows stores to stay open if they sell canned food, dry food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, etc. However, a business that only tangentially such products cannot stay open to the public. If the store remains open to the public, the County recommends the following measures:

  • Designate shopping times for at risk populations (seniors, pregnant people, and people with underlying health conditions);
  • Limit the amount of people in a store at once so that social distancing is possible; Implement a line system with social distancing;
  • Shorten hours to allow for additional cleaning and re-stocking;
  • Implement an organized line system where people are spaced at least a few feet apart (ideally 6 feet);
  • Implement purchase limits on high-demand items (toilet paper, soap, hand sanitizer)
  • Restrict the purchase of highly sought after items;
  • Cease sampling (but you can still operate a bakery and a deli);
  • Increase security; and
  • Offer pick up or deliveries of grocery items.

A liquor store may also operate as an Additional Business and provide curbside/outside pickup, subject to the conditions listed in Appendix C-1 of the Order.

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Can food banks operate?

Yes, they are encouraged to do so. However, any prepared foods must be provided through delivery or carry out.

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ARE CANNABIS STORES ALLOWED TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS?

Yes, licensed cannabis stores may continue operations. Lawful deliveries to customers at a residential location are also not restricted by the Order. Licensed cannabis businesses that support retail stores or delivery services (such as cultivation, processing, manufacturing) can also continue to operate. However, stores that simply sell paraphernalia may only provide curbside/outside pick-ups with the conditions listed in Appendix C-1 of the Order.

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What if I have a cafeteria at my worksite. Can it continue to operate to serve workers who are carrying out work exempted in the Order?

Cafeterias can operate like other food facilities and prepare food for the remaining employees, so long as the employees take the food away and do not eat it in the cafeteria.

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I AM A FISHERMAN; CAN I STILL GO FISH?

Yes, if you are in the business of supplying fish to other customers.

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Outdoor Businesses

What is an “Outdoor Business”?

A business would be considered an “Outdoor Business” if, prior to March 16, 2020, its operations were primarily outdoors and the business has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons.

Examples of outdoor businesses include but are not limited to wholesale and retail plant nurseries, agricultural operations, garden centers, landscaping and gardening services, and environmental site remediation services.

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Is a restaurant or bar with outside seating considered an “Outdoor Business”?

No. Restaurants, cafes and bars are not considered Outdoor Businesses

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Can a hair salon, barbershop or nail salon operate outside?

No. Those types of businesses were not operated primarily outside prior to March 16, 2020 and do not have the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons.

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CAN GARDENERS, LANDSCAPERS, ARBORISTS AND/OR TREE TRIMMERS STILL WORK?

Yes, if they are an “Outdoor Business” as defined in the Order. An Outdoor Business means that prior to March 16, 2020, its operations were primarily outdoors, and the business has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons.

If the business doesn’t qualify as an Outdoor Business, it can operate as an Additional Business. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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Additional Businesses

Can self-storage facilities re-open?

Limited services which do not require close customer contact have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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Are DOG GROOMING BUSINESSES ALLOWED TO REMAIN OPEN?

Limited services which do not require close customer contact have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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What are the Requirements for “Limited Services”?

“Limited Services” have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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WHAT BUSINESSES ARE ALLOWED TO OPERATE AS “ADDITIONAL BUSINESSES”?

In light of progress achieved in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in the County of San Mateo and neighboring counties, this Order allows certain specified Additional Businesses to resume operating, subject to specified conditions and safety precautions set forth in Appendix C-1. Five categories of businesses are allowed to operate as Additional Businesses:

  • Retail Stores and Retail Supply Chain Businesses. Examples include bookstores, jewelry stores, toy stores, clothing and shoe stores, home and furnishing stores, sporting goods stores, and florists.
  • Limited Services Which Do Not Require Close Customer Contact. Examples include pet grooming, dog walking, car washes, appliance repair, residential and janitorial cleaning and plumbing.
  • Outdoor Museums. Museums where the exhibits are located outdoors.
  • Offices. Persons may work in offices only when they are unable to perform their job duties from home.
  • State-Identified Essential Businesses. Any business that the State of California has identified as an essential critical infrastructure sector.

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ARE THERE LIMITATIONS ON THE OPERATIONS OF ADDITIONAL BUSINESSES?

Yes. Additional Businesses that operate in San Mateo County must comply with the conditions and health and safety requirements set forth in the Order, in Appendix C-1 and in any industry-specific guidance issued by the Health Officer.

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WHAT ARE THE CONDITIONS FOR OPERATION OF RETAIL STORES AND RETAIL CHAIN BUSINESSES?

Retail stores and the businesses that support them are permitted to operate subject to the limitations and conditions set forth in the Order:

  • These retail stores may operate for curbside/outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers shall not enter the store.
  • Products must be ordered in advance and remotely either by phone, internet or other technology.
  • The stores must have direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to an adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area, must develop a written pickup plan in collaboration with the shopping center operator or owner to designate clearly identified outdoor areas for pickup. The plan must address how the pick-up process will be monitored and managed, address customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion and ensure social distancing. The plan must also address how it will achieve a similar low-level of contact intensity and number of contacts as curbside pick-up by non-enclosed shopping centers.
  • Businesses that manufacture the goods sold at retail stores covered in category are allowed to operate but only to the extent that they are manufacturing goods for these retail stores.
  • Businesses that provide warehousing and logistical support to these retail stores are allowed to operate but only to the extent they support these retail stores.

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How do I know if my business is in the “Limited Services” Category?

This Order follows the guidance of the Governor’s Order, which states that limited services businesses are those businesses that generally do not require close customer contact and can provide services while maintaining appropriate physical distancing from customers and the public.

Examples of such businesses include laundromats, dry cleaners, other laundry services, auto repair shops, car washes, landscapers, pet grooming, and dog walking. Also included would be businesses where employees may need to enter private residences or community facilities, but physical distance can still be maintained, such as residential and janitorial cleaning services, HVAC services, appliance repair persons, electricians, plumbers, other mechanical tradespersons, handypersons, and general contractors.

The following would not be considered “Limited Services” Businesses: Personal care services that necessitate close customer contact, including hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, massage parlors, aestheticians and cosmetology, ear piercing salons, and tattoo parlors.

CAN JEWELRY SHOPS STAY OPEN?

Yes. However, they are subject to the following conditions for retail stores:

  • These retail stores may operate for curbside/outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers shall not enter the store.
  • Products must be purchased in advance and remotely either by phone, internet or other technology.
  • The stores must have direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area may not reopen at this time.

Please see Appendix C-1 of the Order for further requirements.

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Can flower shops remain open?

Yes. However, they are subject to the following conditions for retail stores:

  • These retail stores may operate for curbside/outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers shall not enter the store.
  • Products must be purchased in advance and remotely either by phone, internet or other technology.
  • The stores must have direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area may not reopen at this time.

Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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I am a locksmith, can I still provide services?

Yes. “Limited Services” have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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Can my company continue to provide janitorial services?

Yes. “Limited Services” have been allowed to re-open on the basis of “low contact intensity,” so any necessary in-person contact should be minimized, including in duration. Services must be performed in a manner in which the service provider and customer maintain at least six feet distance and wear a face covering at all times. Personnel must disinfect any surfaces in customers’ homes or customers’ items that they touch before and after the service. It is not recommended that customers handle equipment owned by the business, but if necessary, these items should be disinfected after such use. Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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CAN RETAIL SHOPS DO CURBSIDE PICKUP?

Yes. However, they are subject to the following conditions for retail stores:

  • • These retail stores may operate for curbside/outside pickup only, including a drive-through window. Customers shall not enter the store.
  • • Products must be purchased in advance and remotely either by phone, internet or other technology.
  • • The stores must have direct access to immediately adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area for pickup by customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion.
  • • Retail stores in an enclosed indoor shopping center that do not have direct access to an adjacent sidewalk, street or alley area, must develop a written pickup plan in collaboration with the shopping center operator or owner to designate clearly identified outdoor areas for pickup. The plan must address how the pick-up process will be monitored and managed, address customers using any mode of travel, without blocking pedestrian access or causing pedestrian or vehicle congestion and ensure social distancing. The plan must also address how it will achieve a similar low-level of contact intensity and number of contacts as curbside pick-up by non-enclosed shopping centers.

Please see Appendix C-1 for further requirements.

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Vehicle Based Gatherings

Who is allowed to provide security for a vehicle-based gathering?

You may arrange for security to be provided by (1) your local law enforcement agency, (2) a private security company, or (3) Personnel whose normal job duties include security.

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Are parades or drive-by events allowed?

Parades are allowed if (1) they comply with all laws and applicable permitting requirements; (2) only members of the same household occupy a single car; (3) people not leave their cars at any time during the parade; (4) participating cars do not congregate at a fixed location other than for a brief time to organize; and (5) no bicycles or motorcycles participate. The Order does not allow people to travel to view a parade. Car parades should be viewed from individual's residences/yards.

It is of note that the Vehicle-Based Gathering Order allows car gatherings to take place in an outside location large enough to accommodate all invitees (max 200 cars) to be evenly spaced six feet apart and to allow for emergency exit, e.g. a parking lot or similar space. There are many other requirements, including a detailed plan, notification of law enforcement, that it be invitation-only and that security be provided. Before organizing such a gathering, please carefully review the Order.

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WHERE CAN VEHICLE-BASED GATHERINGS OCCUR?

They can only occur in a secure parking lot or other similar outdoor space that allows for cars to be evenly spaced six feet apart and to allow for emergency exit. Parades are not allowed and vehicles cannot congregate on public streets.

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