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San Mateo County joins state's COVID-19 watchlist

Gyms, salons and other nonessential services may be forced to close Saturday

Gina Hampton cuts Kathy Berra's hair at DJ's Hair Design Inc. in Menlo Park on July 8. Hair salons and other nonessential indoor businesses may have to close down Aug. 1 now that San Mateo County has been put on the state's watchlist due to rising coronavirus cases. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

For weeks, San Mateo County has been the only Bay Area county to evade the state's coronavirus watchlist, but on Wednesday it joined the crowd.

The July 29 announcement by county officials saying San Mateo County is joining California's watchlist means that a wide range of businesses and activities may be forced to shut down starting Aug. 1 if the county remains on the list for three consecutive days, unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pickup.

According to the county, this order means the following would have to cease operation: gyms and fitness centers; places of worship and cultural ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals; offices for businesses not in essential service sectors; personal care services, like nail salons and body waxing; hair salons and barbershops; and shopping malls.

The county also said that shops that offer tattoos, piercings and electrolysis may not be operated outdoors and therefore would have to close.

Among other criteria, the state's threshold for inclusion on the watchlist is a COVID-19 case rate of 100 per 100,000 of the population. The county's case rate as of July 29, based on a 14-day rolling average, was 110.4 positive cases per 100,000.

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"If the county exceeds the state's case rate threshold for three consecutive days, certain industries and activities will be required to cease operations unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up," the county said Wednesday.

County officials said they did not expect that the local case rate would decrease after three days, and that they "urge businesses and the community to prepare now for the additional restrictions" expected to be imposed Saturday, Aug. 1.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that public schools on the state's coronavirus watchlist cannot open campuses until they've been off the list for 14 days.

"We've been anticipating being added to the monitoring list as our case rate hovers above the state's target," said San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy in the county press release. "It's clear that COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and in the Bay Area. It's vital that we all do everything we can -- wearing face coverings, washing our hands, and avoiding gatherings -- to slow and eventually stop the spread. These individual actions can make a huge difference."

The California Department of Public Health addresses San Mateo County on its website, saying it "sees roots of community transmission related to social gatherings without sufficient physical distancing and wearing of facial coverings, as well as higher exposure for residents performing work that involves person-to-person contact and crowded housing conditions that make home isolation difficult."

As of July 28, San Mateo County had a coronavirus case total of 5,306, with a peak number of cases in a single day at nearly 140 on July 20, according to the San Mateo County health department's coronavirus data dashboard.

"The state has not offered guidelines for when restrictions might be lifted," county officials said in the July 29 press release.

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San Mateo County joins state's COVID-19 watchlist

Gyms, salons and other nonessential services may be forced to close Saturday

by / Almanac

Uploaded: Wed, Jul 29, 2020, 3:52 pm
Updated: Wed, Jul 29, 2020, 5:39 pm

For weeks, San Mateo County has been the only Bay Area county to evade the state's coronavirus watchlist, but on Wednesday it joined the crowd.

The July 29 announcement by county officials saying San Mateo County is joining California's watchlist means that a wide range of businesses and activities may be forced to shut down starting Aug. 1 if the county remains on the list for three consecutive days, unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pickup.

According to the county, this order means the following would have to cease operation: gyms and fitness centers; places of worship and cultural ceremonies, such as weddings and funerals; offices for businesses not in essential service sectors; personal care services, like nail salons and body waxing; hair salons and barbershops; and shopping malls.

The county also said that shops that offer tattoos, piercings and electrolysis may not be operated outdoors and therefore would have to close.

Among other criteria, the state's threshold for inclusion on the watchlist is a COVID-19 case rate of 100 per 100,000 of the population. The county's case rate as of July 29, based on a 14-day rolling average, was 110.4 positive cases per 100,000.

"If the county exceeds the state's case rate threshold for three consecutive days, certain industries and activities will be required to cease operations unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up," the county said Wednesday.

County officials said they did not expect that the local case rate would decrease after three days, and that they "urge businesses and the community to prepare now for the additional restrictions" expected to be imposed Saturday, Aug. 1.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that public schools on the state's coronavirus watchlist cannot open campuses until they've been off the list for 14 days.

"We've been anticipating being added to the monitoring list as our case rate hovers above the state's target," said San Mateo County Manager Mike Callagy in the county press release. "It's clear that COVID-19 continues to spread in our community and in the Bay Area. It's vital that we all do everything we can -- wearing face coverings, washing our hands, and avoiding gatherings -- to slow and eventually stop the spread. These individual actions can make a huge difference."

The California Department of Public Health addresses San Mateo County on its website, saying it "sees roots of community transmission related to social gatherings without sufficient physical distancing and wearing of facial coverings, as well as higher exposure for residents performing work that involves person-to-person contact and crowded housing conditions that make home isolation difficult."

As of July 28, San Mateo County had a coronavirus case total of 5,306, with a peak number of cases in a single day at nearly 140 on July 20, according to the San Mateo County health department's coronavirus data dashboard.

"The state has not offered guidelines for when restrictions might be lifted," county officials said in the July 29 press release.

Comments

PA Resident
another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 11:49 am
PA Resident, another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 11:49 am
16 people like this

Before closing these businesses, do we know if any of the increase in numbers has been caused by gyms, hair salons, etc.? Have any of the new cases said that they think they may have contracted the virus from a gym or getting their hair cut? Are the new cases people who work at gyms or hair salons? Is there any evidence that a particular gym or hair salon has been a hot spot for the virus?

Unless we know for sure that gyms and hair salons have contributed to serious infections, it makes no sense to close them and probably will make no change to whether people contract the virus. Otherwise, all this does is make it harder for those who work in these places to earn their living, the owners of these businesses to be able to pay their rent, the economy to fail more which affects us all, and for those who wish to avail of these services to not do so.

It sounds more like a punishment rather than a solution to me.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:04 pm
12 people like this

The evidence is clear that the more human interacting, particularly indoors, the greater the risk of infection.

We can learn both from other countries/states successes and from history:

Web Link

Or we can continue to have more people get sick and die.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:25 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:25 pm
6 people like this

France is an excellent example of a poor start followed by a lockdown and a very careful controlled reopening with extensive testing and tracing:

"But while the outbreak occurred primarily in only two parts of France, French President Emmanuel Macron imposed a severe, nationwide lockdown on March 16. And during that lockdown, the government put extensive testing and contact tracing in place. Almost exactly two months later, France mostly reopened. And for the last two and a half months, the country has functioned in a primarily open status with around 500 new cases per day and only about 450 deaths in the last month."

Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 1:34 pm
10 people like this

The US on the other hand paid the price of a patchy lockdown but received none of the benefits because the necessary and promised testing and tracing has not occurred.

A blindfolded public health system cannot stop this virus.

Here are the per capita death rates:
US 467 per million
France 463
Canada 236
World 86
Finland 59
Norway 47
Cuba 8
S.Korea 6
New Zealand 4
Vietnam 0

Web Link



PA Resident
another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 6:13 pm
PA Resident, another community
on Jul 30, 2020 at 6:13 pm
Like this comment

Further to my earlier comment (first on the thread) Kron 4 reporting cases in several Costcos in Santa Clara county (including Mountain View) and yet they are still open.

Yet gyms, hair salons, etc. that have no reported cases are being forced to close?

Does that make sense? Are we being treated like pawns, or forced to act like sheep? Is there any logical reasons for keeping Costco with cases open and closing businesses that have no cases?


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 6:41 pm
8 people like this

With the current level of infection in San Mateo County and the Bay area we should all be going back to a full shelter in place.

We cannot stop the virus with this rate of infection, the low rate of quick turn around testing and minimal contact tracing.

I am not willing to see more deaths just so people can go to the gym or hair salon.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:14 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:14 pm
4 people like this

"Is there any logical reasons for keeping Costco with cases open and closing businesses that have no cases?"

Yes - it is a risk/benefit calculation.

What is being kept open are essential business and those businesses are required to enforce mask and social distancing to minimize the risk of transmission.

People have to eat but we do not have to go to the gym or to the hair salon.

The US is now having one preventable death every minute. We has that somehow become acceptable?


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 7:15 pm
4 people like this

Correction:
The US is now having one preventable death every minute.

Why has that somehow become acceptable?


Ridiculous
Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 30, 2020 at 8:29 pm
Ridiculous , Portola Valley: Central Portola Valley
on Jul 30, 2020 at 8:29 pm
12 people like this

If you don’t want to get the virus then don’t leave your house. But let everyone else go about their lives, we can’t stay holed up forever, not sure why you feel the need to make decisions for others.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 9:25 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 30, 2020 at 9:25 pm
8 people like this

Fortunately most people put the common good ahead of their own selfish desires.


Reality
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:25 am
Reality, Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:25 am
4 people like this

Over 155,000 people in America have died from this virus in just a couple short months.

That's the same as 516 planes crashing, killing 300 people each time, over 100 crashes per month.

Serious enough for you?

Wear a mask ALL the time. Many people are asymptomatic, but still pass the virus and kill others, or make them seriously ill, by accident. Don't be that person.


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:47 am
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:47 am
6 people like this

We are not going to stop the transmission of this virus until mask wearing is MANDATORY and there are fines associated with not wearing one. Until there is direct pain to those that refuse to wear a mask, they will choose their needs over those of the greater good. One only need see the posts of the entitled or ignorant above to know this to be true.

The state needs to make it mandatory to wear a mask in public, no matter where you are or what you're doing. The fine for not doing so should be $500 for the first offense and go up from there. That should offer enough pain to those self righteous, entitled folks to make them put on a mask and help protect the rest of us.


PA Resident
another community
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:14 pm
PA Resident, another community
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:14 pm
Like this comment

@ Peter Carpenter. Just because I don't agree with you about closing society again, it doesn't mean that I am going around without a mask or wanting to flout the rules. I am not selfishly wanting to go to the gym or get my hair cut, I am very unselfishly (in my opinion) thinking about the people who work in gyms and hair salons and need to earn some money to pay their bills and the owners to pay their rent. I do also happen to think that when all this is over we may not have our favorite places to support as they will have gone out of business and we will be surrounded by empty storefronts.

@Menlo Voter. I would agree with you if we had not had the masks in place for, oh I don't know maybe 4 months, but in all honesty, the places I visit are full of well masked individuals obeying the rules. A mandatory rule about masks and huge fines is not going to solve the problem when the majority of people have been doing this for quite some time. How much longer do you think people will be willing to put their lives on indefinite hold while the economy collapses?

Sweden garnered much criticism at first for not shutting things down in the country. Now they are reaping the benefits of herd immunity, with life basically back to normal and no masks, social distancing or closure of schools.


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:47 pm
2 people like this

"Sweden garnered much criticism at first for not shutting things down in the country. Now they are reaping the benefits of herd immunity, with life basically back to normal and no masks, social distancing or closure of schools."

Wrong. How can you call Sweden a success?

Sweden does NOT have herd immunity and their death rate is 568 per million vs 469 in the US and 106 in Denmark and 47 in Norway.

Web Link


Peter Carpenter
Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:55 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jul 31, 2020 at 4:55 pm
2 people like this

Sweden becomes an example of how not to handle COVID-19:

"But Sweden's stay-the-course approach alarms Nele Brusselaers, an epidemiologist at the world renowned Karolinska Institute medical research university in Stockholm.

"If there is one country in Europe where there will be a second peak, it will be most likely Sweden, because they're still not doing that much to really stop it," she said."

Web Link


Menlo Voter.
Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:45 pm
Menlo Voter., Menlo Park: other
on Jul 31, 2020 at 7:45 pm
4 people like this

PA Resident:

Yes, there are many places where people are wearing masks as they are supposed to. There are also many places where they don't. You may not see it, but it's there. The worst place for that is bars. As people drink, they get louder, masks come off and they get closer together. And you only need spend a little time on line seeing the pictures of hundreds of people partying with no masks, no social distancing and no idea how they could be exposing themselves. Sorry, the evidence of rising infection and death confirm that.

I'm not suggesting we shut things down at all. If people would follow the proper protocols it wouldn't be necessary. Hence fining people for not following the rules. It keeps us from having to close things down.


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