Restaurants, gyms, museums, zoos and movie theaters in San Mateo County will be permitted to reopen indoors beginning Wednesday as the state moves the county into its less restrictive red tier within its reopening framework.
“This is great news for our small businesses and our entire community,” said Board President David Canepa in a press release. “And this move is a direct result of all of us taking personal responsibility for our actions. If we wear our damn masks, keep our distance and follow common-sense health and safety protocols, we can get back to doing what we all love to do.”
The change from the most restrictive purple tier to the less restrictive red tier means indoor dining, places of worship, movie theaters, museums, zoos and aquariums will be permitted to open at 25% capacity. Gyms will also be allowed to open indoors at 10% capacity, having only been permitted to operate outdoors, and small retailers and shopping centers will have an increased capacity limit of 50%.
The state uses a color-coded tier system to determine to what extent a county can safely open operations. Three metrics ultimately influence the state’s decision, a county’s rolling seven-day average case rate per 100,000 residents, positivity rate per 100,000 residents and Health Equity Metric which monitors case rates in underserved communities.
Despite San Mateo County's adjusted case rate not falling below seven new cases per every 100,000 residents for two consecutive weeks, both its positivity rate and Health Equity Metric now fall within the even less restrictive orange tier. Because both figures remained within the orange tier for a span of two consecutive weeks, the county was eligible through the state to expand some operations.
Louise Rogers, chief of San Mateo County Health, noted during a virtual Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday that the county has one of the lowest health disparities between communities in the Bay Area, reporting a difference of 1.6% between its county-wide positivity rate and the Health Equity Metric.
“It is something to applaud,” said Rogers. “Reducing that disparity is going in the right direction. Our goal is to drive that disparity, affecting our most impacted communities, to zero.”