San Mateo tells visitors to stop crossing county lines for dining and haircuts

While San Mateo County continues to keep everything from outdoor dining to nail salons open with health safety measures in place, officials are asking residents from other counties to stay away.

“We are in a public health crisis with alarming rates of COVID-19 transmission,” County Manager Mike Callagy said in a statement to SFGATE. “While we absolutely support our local businesses serving our local community, we do not want non-essential travel and non-essential activities, such as crossing counties for an outdoor restaurant or salon. This is the time to stay close to home.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom introduced a new stay-at-home earlier this month that divides the state into five regions and triggers more stringent restrictions when intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%.

The Bay Area region hasn’t hit the threshold, yet Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sonoma counties elected to impose the order ahead of the state timeline and the rest of the region. The new order requires most nonessential businesses to temporarily stop all operations.

Meanwhile, San Mateo, Napa, Solano and Santa Cruz are waiting for ICU capacity in the Bay Area region to drop below 15%, which could happen any day, and allowing businesses to operate with health safety measures in place.

When San Mateo County opted to not impose the order without a state mandate, Health Director Scott Morrow released a statement, outlining his decision. Among the many reasons he listed for allowing businesses such as outdoor dining to stay open was the lack of data.

“I am aware of no data that some of the business activities on which even greater restrictions are being put into place with this new order are the major drivers of transmission,” Morrow wrote. “In fact, I think these greater restrictions are likely to drive more activity indoors, a much riskier endeavor.

Situated in the middle of the Bay Area and surrounded by counties under the order, San Mateo is seeing an influx of visitors. KTVU reported that the Serramonte Center in Daly City was packed Sunday, and an S.F. resident at the mall told the TV station, “I feel you try to capitalize on every opportunity to get out right now, to be honest.”

San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa is among the county officials discouraging outsiders from flooding the region.  “So my plea, my begging is for those people outside of San Mateo County, please respect our county and don’t come to our county to shop or use the restaurants,” Canepa told KTVU.

While San Mateo discourages visitors, counties under the state stay-at-home order are discouraging their residents from traveling and leaving the county except for essential needs.

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