State Moves San Mateo County to Purple Tier 1: Indoor Dining Closes, Outdoor Gatherings Only

South San Francisco, CA  November 28, 2020 Submitted by County of San Mateo

State’s Stay At Home Order Applies from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Public Health Officials Urge Residents to Avoid Holiday Travel as COVID-19 Cases Rise Across the Region

Redwood City – The state of California is rolling back San Mateo County to the most restrictive coronavirus rules as public health officials urge residents to avoid travel and gathering.

The state today announced that, effective tomorrow, San Mateo County will move to purple Tier 1, the most restrictive on the state’s four-tier, color-coded COVID-19 reopening plan. A new stay-at-home order – prohibiting residents from leaving their homes to gather with other households from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. – also takes effect at 10 p.m. Monday, Dec. 30.

Under purple Tier 1 restrictions, businesses and activities that may have been operating indoors – including places of worship, movie theaters, gyms and museums – must move outdoors or close. Shopping malls and all retail must operate at no more than 25 percent capacity.

Indoor gatherings among members of different households are banned and outdoor gatherings can include people from only three households outside of the 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. restrictions. During those hours, no gatherings are allowed among households, with certain exemptions.

State officials said restrictions are necessary to control a recent surge in coronavirus cases across the Bay Area and state.

San Mateo County Health reported an approximately 85 percent spike in new COVID-19 cases from October to November. The rollback to purple is due to the county’s new adjusted case rate of 7.6 per 100,000 population.

“We have not seen numbers like this in quite a while and we really need to reverse this incredibly troubling trend,” County Manager Mike Callagy said. “What’s important to remember is that we can reverse the trend as long as we follow common-sense health and safety practices.”

The virus is considered “widespread” in purple Tier 1 in state’s four-tier “Blueprint for a Safer Economy” plan.

Callagy added, “We need everyone to do their part to keep our community safe. That’s why we are urging everyone to stay home for the holidays. I know that means a lot of sacrifice, but the best way to show your family that you love them is to stay home and stay safe.”

Limited Stay At Home Order

The new stay at home order, announced by the state Nov. 19, is more limited than the spring “Shelter in Place” order and applies only to counties in the purple Tier 1. It went into effect November 21 and will remain in place until December 21.

Residents can still go outside alone or with members of their own household “as long as they do not engage in any interaction” with members of other households or to work at essential jobs, such as in grocery stores.

The order requires all nonessential businesses and restaurants – even if operating outdoors – to cease operations by 10 p.m.

Holiday Travel

County Health officials urge residents to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for testing and California Department of Public Health tips for healthier holiday season:

·      Stay home or in your region and avoid non-essential travel

·      Do not gather indoors with other households

·      Contact your healthcare provider if you have a concern about your exposure.

“We continue to advise against traveling and want to reinforce that testing provides only a point-in-time result,” said County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow. “A test during the incubation period is too early to detect the virus during the infectious period. So if you test negative before or during a trip, you may still present a risk of exposing others to COVID-19. A negative test does not clear you for visiting relatives.”

Morrow advised everyone to wear a face covering, maintain social distance and avoid gatherings even if your test result is negative.


Activity and Business Restrictions Under Purple Tier 1

Restaurants (Dine In)

·      Outdoors only with modifications (takeout and delivery open with modifications)


·      Outdoors only with modifications

·      No more than three households

·      Prohibited, with certain exemptions, from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

Places of Worship

·      Outdoor only with modifications

Movie Theaters, Gyms and Fitness Centers, Museums, Zoos and Aquariums

·      Outdoor only with modifications

Hair Salons, Barbershops, Personal Care Services

·      Open indoors with modifications

All Retail (except stand-alone grocers), Shopping Centers, Malls, Swap Meets

·      Open indoors with modifications

·      Maximum 25% capacity

·      Closed common areas

·      Closed food courts


·      The County’s move to the Purple Tier will have no impact on schools that have already resumed modified in-person instruction.

·      However, additional restrictions and/or a waiver process will apply to those that have not yet transitioned to in-person instruction.

Offices for Non-Essential Workers

·      Remote only

Outdoor Playgrounds/Recreational Facilities

·      Open with modifications

All businesses are required to follow industry-specific guidance.

(What’s open and what’s closed in each tier? Find out on the California Department of Public Health’s website. Look at each county’s tier status here.)


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