REDWOOD CITY (CBS SF) — A newly-revised coronavirus stay-at-home order issued by San Mateo County health officials Friday will allow places of worship, retail stores and beaches to reopen with some restrictions, starting June 1.
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow issued the revised order which outlines modifications and restrictions that places of worship and retail businesses will have to follow. The new directive’s reopening timeline is within the governor’s Resilience Roadmap, but it leads the reopening pace set by other Bay Area counties.
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The health order requires places of worship to mark regions in 6-foot increments to indicate where individuals should stand; aisles should be designated as one-way to support social distancing. They should also encourage vulnerable staff and congregants (above age 50 or those with chronic health conditions) to work from home or participate virtually.
Attendance at religious services and cultural ceremonies will be limited to a maximum of 25 percent of a building’s capacity or 100 individuals, whichever is lower. Eating and drinking inside the facility is prohibited as are after-service gatherings. Children must remain in the care of those in their household and may not interact with children of other parties. Activities and services for children (such as shared play areas) must be discontinued if social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained.
Retail establishments must provide curbside or outdoor pick-up and delivery options, if feasible. Those providing in-store shopping must, in the required health and safety plan, identify the number of shoppers that can be accommodated in a way that allows shoppers and employees to maintain social distancing. Stores must also implement measures to enforce that limit.
For summer camps and other educational or recreational programs providing child supervision, the stable group time requirement has been decreased from four weeks to three consecutive weeks.
The county’s health order also removes previous limitations on access and activities at beaches in San Mateo County. Beaches may now operate normally, as long as beachgoers adhere to social-distancing and face-covering guidelines.
The city of Half Moon Bay is reopening its beach parking lots and restrooms, acknowledging that a policy designed to discourage people from visiting the coast ended up creating more problems than it solved.
“It’s good intentions but poor execution,” says beachgoer Laurence Ross. “It doesn’t make sense to close all the beaches.”
In one of the strictest stay at home orders in the Bay Area, San Mateo County limited travel for recreation to a five-mile radius of one’s house — effectively a locals-only policy for the beaches. But as the weather warmed up, people flocked to the beach anyway, creating a situation that was unsafe, unsanitary and chaotic.
“The best thing is to accept that people are going to come to visit. People are going to seek the refuge of the coast and ocean. And we need to try to provide opportunities for them to be safe,” says Half Moon Bay Assistant City Manager Matthew Chidester.
The city opened some beach parking lots Friday ahead of an official reopening Saturday.