New San Mateo County Health Order Opens More Businesses and Allows Social Bubbles
Dr. Scott Morrow, San Mateo County Health Officer, has issued a new order allowing more local businesses to reopening and people to gather in small social bubbles as long as COVID-19 safety measures and state guidelines are followed.
The local shelter in place order for June 4, 2020, has been rescinded and replaced with a new health officer order emphasizing individual behavior and the practices businesses must follow as they resume operations.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 new 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.
Through the new order, the following businesses may now resume operations as long as they produce and post health and safety plans:
• Dine-in restaurants
• Hair salons and barber shops
• 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
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 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.
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 San Mateo County Health Officer’s orders and statements can be found at: https://www.smchealth.org/post/health-officer-statements-and-orders.
More information on San Mateo County’s response to COVID-19 can be found at: https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus.