REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) — Business owners in San Mateo County were worried about having to close as they sat on the precipice of California’s coronavirus watch list. By state guidelines, that could have happened last Monday or Tuesday but it did not. It was great news for gym and salon owners in San Mateo County but it’s causing some frustration in the South Bay.

“You know, either way with the virus and the pandemic, business has been rough,” says Taylor Martin, owner of The Weight Room in Redwood City. “But at least being open we have the opportunity to rebuttal.” When KPIX spoke with Martin last week, he was worried he would be closed again by now. Despite the still-bad situation, it’s good news.

“Being open, it’s a blessing,” Martin says.

“My place is a little bit kind of open,” says Pintu Virani, owner of Twisted Thread, a mobile salon in Menlo Park. Virani’s salon also remains open but it would not be if she were parked any farther down El Camino Real.

“Yes, I worried about it because Santa Clara County is already closed,” Virani explains.

“7.5 percent of all tests are positive in California,” said Santa Clara County supervisor Dave Cortese. “That number is only 3.8 percent in Santa Clara county, yet somehow we landed on the state watchlist. There’s something wrong with the metrics.”

Cortese is a little frustrated with the ins and outs of the watchlist.

His county had its own reopening plan that wasn’t so heavily focused on what a business did, more on how it might operate safely.

“You know we had that going for literally two days when the state stepped in with this watch list,” Cortese says.

So how did San Mateo County, which does trespass over the case-rate benchmark, still manage to stay off the watch list?

“I think one of the things is our engagement with the state,” explained San Mateo supervisor David Canepa. “I mean, when you look at our deaths, you look at other criteria, we’re doing rather well.”

Canepa, who thought his county would get listed this week, said they avoid it simply by making a strong enough argument in their own defense.

“It looks like, it appears, the state, in that area around testing, is taking our concerns seriously,” Canepa said.

Despite similar objections, there was no such luck on the other side of the county line.

“I think the governor is doing the best he can to keep up with something that he and none of us have ever dealt with before,” Cortese said. “But, across-the-board, we need to come up with a more uniform and better way of dealing with these issues.”

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