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May 11

Bay Area health officers clarify and reaffirm local health order

Posted on May 11, 2020 at 4:45 pm by Clay Curtin

Bay Area health officers, in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties and the City of Berkeley, issued a joint press release on May 7, 2020, loosening restrictions on construction as well as outdoor activities and businesses. The Bay Area health orders DO NOT permit curbside pickup from non-essential, non-outdoor businesses. This includes most retailers.

Retailers in San Mateo County are not allowed to re-open for delivery or curbside pickup. Some examples of retailers that are still not able to operate, include:
  • Bookstores
  • Jewelry stores
  • Toy stores
  • Clothing and shoe stores
  • Home and furnishing stores
  • Sporting goods stores
  • Florists
Also, in the existing orders, the following also are not allowed to re-open:
  • Dine-in restaurants 
  • Bars and nightclubs 
  • Entertainment venues
  • Gyms and fitness studios 
  • Public events and gatherings 
  • Hair and nail salons
Health officers remain optimistic that changes to current local health orders may be made like allowing non-essential businesses to offer curbside pickup. This will be evaluated at the local level. San Mateo County Health Officer, Scott Morrow, says, “if we continue to have the public’s cooperation, I have great hope that the indicators we are monitoring will continue to improve and this Order can be revised before May 31, 2020, in a manner that focuses more on behavior (social distancing, face masks, etc.) and risk of disease transmission in contrast to categories of businesses (essential vs. non-essential).”

The April 29, 2020, health order extended the shelter in place requirements until 11:59 p.m., May 31, or until it is extended, rescinded, superseded or amended in writing by the Health Officer. The Health Officer is closely monitoring actions by our Governor as well as various indicators and is continually assessing whether and to what extent the County can ease restrictions to provide more flexibility and freedom for County residents. In light of progress achieved in slowing the spread of COVID-19, the new Order relaxed conditions on certain Essential Businesses and allows certain Outdoor Businesses to resume operating.

The following are generally allowed under the updated health order:
  • Construction (both commercial and residential)
  • Outdoor services such as gardening and landscaping
  • Traditional Outdoor Businesses such as nurseries, outdoor operations, and garden centers
  • Moving services (both commercial and residential)
  • Real estate transactions (with virtual components) 
  • Activities in shared recreational spaces that do not involve shared equipment and that allow for social distancing
Essential services that protect public health, public safety, and provide essential needs will remain open, such as:
  • Gas stations
  • Pharmacies
  • Food: Grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants 
  • Banks 
  • Laundromats/laundry services
Please visit for the latest health updates. For more information on actions and activities in Menlo Park, visit