At least three Bay Area regions – San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin – plan to gradually reduce their social restrictions starting Monday, departing from Santa Clara County, which on Tuesday said it would not reduce the current restrictions.
San Mateo had previously issued some of the most stringent shelter orders in California, but district health officials said Wednesday that conditions had improved enough to modify requirements.
“I want to remind everyone that this modification was not done because it is safe to get out and about,” Scott Morrow, a county public health officer, said in a statement. “Viruses continue to circulate in our community, and the increased interaction between these people is likely to spread the virus at a higher rate.”
In San Francisco, Mayor of London Breed announced on Wednesday that all roadside retailers will be allowed to reopen on May 18 for collection and delivery.
He had warned for weeks that San Francisco would be slow to reopen. But at a press conference, he said the city’s next phase meant that 95% of San Francisco retailers would be allowed to open starting Monday. Warehouses and factories are also allowed to reopen, but the city has imposed limits on the number of employees allowed in each business.
“We do see the numbers are flat,” Breed said. “They have not refused, but in fact we are in a better place.” He said hospitalization for COVID-19 remained flat and hospital capacity was stable.
Grant Colfax, health director for the city, said San Francisco’s death rate was four times lower than Los Angeles and 35 times lower than New York City.
“Thank you, San Francisco, for doing everything you can to slow the spread of the corona virus here in the San Francisco and Bay Area as well,” he said.
Open retailers for roadside pickup are allowed to have no more than 10 employees on site; if the shop is small, no more than five. Factories and warehouses may have no more than 50 workers on site, he said.
All open businesses must ensure social distance, wear a mask and have a health and safety plan, he said.
On Tuesday, Dr. Sara Cody, a chief architect of the country’s first regional shelter order, told Santa Clara County officials that it was too early to move to reopening Phase 2 along with most other states.
“His condition has really not changed in our area,” he said. “We suddenly have no immunity; we don’t have a vaccine. We have exactly the same conditions as we did in March. “
Cody described Santa Clara County as very balanced. This outbreak is stable – does not appear to grow dramatically or decrease significantly. For every one infected person, the average person infects one other person. If that number, known as the basic reproduction rate, rose slightly to 1.1 or 1.2, it would cause a significant increase in deaths, Cody said.
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Contra Costa County is also not ready to weaken the order to stay at home, Dr. Chris Farnitano, a health worker for the third most populous region in the Bay Area, said Tuesday.
“We are not where we want to be before the full opening of the order to stay at home,” Farnitano told the Contra Costa County Board of Trustees, which governs a country of 1.1 million people east of Oakland.
Farnitano said he would like to have several weeks passed to observe the effects of easing residential stay orders which took effect on May 4, which lifted restrictions on all construction projects and allowed certain businesses working outside the home to continue, such as gardeners, gardeners and nursery.
“We want to … see the effect of this increase in business and social activity on the spread of COVID-19 in the Bay Area before loosening additional business sectors,” such as allowing local retail businesses to be opened for roadside pickup, Farnitano said.
Matt Willis, a health officer for Marin County, said earlier this week Marin County was ready to allow retail businesses to open for roadside pickup on Monday. But Willis, who was previously infected with the virus, warned that Marin County might need to reverse its direction if it saw a surge in cases.
Marin County has cause for concern – the average age of its inhabitants is the oldest of all California territories, with almost 1 in 3 residents older than 60 years, Willis said.
Marin County, with a population of 260,000 people, is tied for ninth place in terms of the highest number of deaths per 100,000 population in 58 states of California, Willis said Monday, which shows a level of 5.4 out of every 100,000 people who died as a result of COVID-19. That’s a worse rate than in the countries of San Francisco and Alameda. On Wednesday, 14 people in Marin County had died of the virus.
“The most important thing is that we realize that reopening doesn’t mean the virus has disappeared,” Willis said. “That means that we think we are ready to take the next step: Knowing the virus is here and we are still at risk. We don’t have a zero risk option. … We will define success at a later stage as finding a balance between the dangers of ongoing limited shelter [and] danger of COVID-19 spreading. “
The Alameda District Public Health Department said in a statement released Tuesday that maybe the agency would allow additional activities that were approved for local businesses starting Monday.
Sonoma, Napa and Solano districts last week implemented relaxation permitted by Newsom and allowed non-essential retail businesses to make roadside pickup sales while reducing restrictions on manufacturing, supply chain and logistical support businesses.
Governor Gavin Newsom outlines guidelines for reopening Phase 2, which makes it possible to take curbside at strip malls and outlet malls, as well as opening car wash facilities, pet care services, and landscape businesses – as long as social distance rules and other guidelines apply. Outdoor museums can also begin to reopen.
Los Angeles County has allowed parts of the local economy to reopen as Newsom permits, allowing shops that sell books, clothing, flowers and sporting goods to be opened for roadside pickup on Friday. On Wednesday, L.A. County continues easing restrictions, which allows more retailers to open pickup services and manufacturing companies that supply the shops.
Twelve of the 58 states of California, most of them rural, have been certified as meeting more stringent state criteria to allow wider business reopens faster than standard states, such as restaurant dining rooms and allowing customers in central stores – shopping centers, including strip malls and outlet outlets, when operating with additional protection.
Amador, Butte, El Dorado, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sierra, Tuolumne, Yuba, Sutter and Shasta have been certified as meeting state requirements for reopening additional businesses.
Times staff writers Hannah Fry, Patrick McGreevy, and Colleen Shalby contributed to this article.