Photo: Eric Risberg / Associated Press
San Mateo County will soften its on-site shelter order and join the rest of the state of California in Stage 2 of Governor Gavin Newsom’s reopening plan on May 18.
In a statement released Wednesday, the county announced that health chief doctor Scott Morrow will release a new order this week authorizing the return of retail and manufacturing with new physical measures. The rest of the state entered this phase late last week, but six counties in the Bay Area – San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin – continue to apply stricter prescription.
“I am encouraged that the data on COVID-19 cases, hospital capacity and other indicators show some stability so that San Mateo County can now enter the early stages of Phase 2”, Morrow wrote in a statement. “I would like to remind all of these no changes have been made as it is safe to get around. The virus continues to circulate in our community, and this increase in interactions between people is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate. “
It is not known if other counties will also drift out of main order and proceed to step 2 on Monday. County officials from San Francisco and Marin previously said they envision May 18 as a potential date to join the rest of the state, but Santa Clara County health official Dr. Sara Cody – the architect of the region’s first on-site shelter order – said that his county was not about to pass the tests and contact tracing required for the reopening.
Morrow stressed that businesses must do their part to comply with guidelines to keep employees and customers safe.
“If these changes allow the virus to spread uncontrollably, as we saw in February and March, and have resulted in the first shelter in place,” wrote Morrow. “The guidelines on social isolation and facial coverage, as well as the ban on collection, will remain in place because the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is significant for all of us. The public and open businesses must do their part to minimize the spread of the virus. “
MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:
Sign up for The Daily for the latest coronavirus news here.
Eric Ting is an SFGATE digital reporter. Email: [email protected] | Twitter:@_ericting