REDWOOD CITY (KPIX) – Alameda and San Mateo counties, on Tuesday, learned they were upgraded into the state’s less restrictive, red tier, but only one of those counties decided to loosen its grip on businesses.
“The first thing that came to my mind was hallelujah,” said San Mateo County Supervisor Dave Canepa.
Effective immediately, indoor dining, exercising in gyms and fitness studios, going to a movie theater and church could resume in San Mateo county, but with modifications.
Alameda County, on the other hand, is taking a more cautious approach and will wait to reopen its economy a little more.
Recently, San Francisco and Santa Clara counties also decided to follow its more restrictive guidelines, and ignore the state when it moved into the red tier.
“There are no right answers to this, there are none,” said Canepa.
Despite the green light in San Mateo County, Evolve Training Center co-owner John Janero said, they plan to stay closed and continue offering online classes.
Under the state’s order, gyms and fitness studios can reopen at 10% capacity in the red tier.
“How do you get through something like this,” Janero said. “At some point something has to give, and if we keep going like this we’re going to end up with nothing.”
He said that counties should assess businesses individually, and based on their safety measures allow them to reopen at the capacity they see fit instead of a one-size fits all approach.
San Mateo County Public Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said in a statement in August that he did not support the second shutdown of businesses, and that there had to be a balance of minimizing the spread of COVID-19 and destroying everything else in the process.
For many small, struggling business owners, Janero said even with the county running to open businesses as fast as they can, the restrictions continue to squeeze their bottom lines.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction, but I just think we’re handcuffed,” Janero said.
“I’m one of them, you’re one of them, we’re fortunate to be able to work at home,” Canepa said. “Some of these essential workers, they don’t have that choice, and that’s sort of the dilemma we face.”