SAN MATEO COUNTY (KPIX) — San Mateo County on Tuesday became the second county in the Bay Area to return to the less restrictive COVID Yellow Tier, according to California health officials.
The state announced its updated tier assignments on the California Blueprint for a Safer Economy website late Tuesday morning shortly before noon.READ MORE: UPDATE: Cal Fire Crews Reach 80% Containment of Fremont Fire Near Napa-Sonoma County Line
The move means San Mateo County joins San Francisco as the second county to meet the criteria set by state health officials to advance to the least restrictive tier based on the number of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and other health metrics. The rest of the Bay Area remained in the Orange Tier on Tuesday, except for Solano County which is still at the Red Tier.
San Mateo County health officials announced the move into Yellow officially takes effect Wednesday at 12:01 a.m.
BREAKING: #SanMateoCounty moves to the state’s least restrictive yellow tier effect May 12 at 12:01 a.m.; @SMCHealth Officer rescinds June 17, 2020, order for social distancing guidelines & face covering requirements in favor of State guidance. More here: https://t.co/K4IoqJl8Ui pic.twitter.com/phENFvMWhM
— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) May 11, 2021
It is also the first time San Mateo County has been in the yellow tier since the state unveiled its tiered, color-coded Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening system last summer.
In addition to the 76.4 percent of county residents ages 16 and up who have received at least one vaccine dose as of Monday, 72.3 percent of eligible residents have been fully vaccinated, according to county data.
State officials have targeted June 15 to sunset the tiered reopening system and remove capacity restrictions, provided that vaccine supply remains ample and coronavirus-related hospitalizations remain low.
San Mateo County Board of Supervisors President David Canepa also tweeted about the good news early Tuesday afternoon.
Congratulations San Mateo County as we are now in the Yellow Tier. We have come so far in the last year thanks to the vigilance of our community in continuing to wear masks and rolling up their sleeves for a vaccine. We are nearing the end of this pandemic!
— David Canepa (@davidcanepa) May 11, 2021
When he spoke to KPIX Tuesday, Canepa sounded excited, if exhausted.
“I mean it’s just been a long, long marathon; lots of encouraging signs. It seems like we’re working our way out of this pandemic,” said Canepa.READ MORE: New Wildfire Breaks Out Near Shasta Lake, Quickly Grows to 50 Acres
He said that while this marks the beginning of the end of COVID, residents still have to be vigilant.
Under the Yellow Tier, there is a laundry list of reopenings and expansions under the less restrictive guidelines.
Bars will be able to operate indoors at 25% capacity, while indoor private events can have a maximum of 200 people in attendance if participants are tested or vaccinated.
Restaurants, gyms and church services will be able to expand indoors to 50% capacity.
Canepa said future shutdowns are unlikely.
“Now, will there be little spikes here and there maybe in the wintertime? Yeah, but I don’t think we’re going to roll back into Purple,” said Canepa. “I think those days are behind us. And I think the reason why is here in the Bay Area, we’ve been able to vaccinate. And that’s what puts us in a fantastic position.”
County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow also announced Tuesday that he rescinded his June 17, 2020, health order that detailed local guidelines for social distancing and masking.
The county will now comply with guidance issued last week by the California Department of Public Health, which can be found online.
At Row House in Belmont, they have been preparing for indoor classes at 50 percent capacity, with the spots marked off on the floor for social distancing.
But owners plan to keep the outdoor classes for the time being.
“Our classes have been totally booked. So we run six classes a day usually [between] 3 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” explained Sienna Peck with Row House. “We have the 14 rowers and we have up to 15 people on the waitlist right now. So people are looking to come in.”
At Whispers Cafe, the indoor tables are ready. But for customers like Marisa Huber, who just got her second vaccine dose Monday, adjusting will take time.
“Eating indoors? Oh, I mean I think as I go more time after getting my double dose vaccine, then I’ll get more comfortable with it, probably,” said Huber. “But for now? For now I think it’s just psychological. Like you said, It’s hard to just flip a switch and change.”
At the Bottle Shop in Redwood City, owner Tom Boriolo took over the restaurant in March 2020, just before the lockdown. For him, news of the Yellow Tier has been a long time coming.MORE NEWS: Legendary Filmmaker, Playwright, Musician Melvin Van Peebles Dies, At 89
“Very excited! I think people are ready to get going and, and the weather is turning beautiful so that’s an opportunity for us,” said Boriolo.