By Michael G. Stogner
Posted December 16 at 12:45 p.m.
Redwood City – As COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations surge and ICU capacity declines, San Mateo and 10 other Bay Area counties are under a mandatory Regional Stay At Home Order that takes effect Thursday, Dec. 17, at 11:59 p.m.
The order prohibits private gatherings of any size, except for outdoor church services and political demonstrations. Restaurants must stop offering in-person dining and can offer only take-out and delivery.
Many businesses and activities must close, including salons and barbershops. Retail can remain open at 20 percent capacity. Nonessential travel and the use of hotels or short-term rentals for leisure is banned.
The state of California announced the order today as regional ICU bed capacity fell below 15 percent, a trigger threshold. The order is meant to prevent crowding and mingling among non-household members and overwhelming the health care system.
The order is less sweeping than the lockdowns ordered in the spring. People can continue with essential activities like going to the doctor, buying groceries and picking up takeout food.
The rules will remain in effect for at least three weeks.