SF Added To State COVID-19 Watch List, San Mateo County Could Follow

Santa Clara County prepares to reopen non-essential retail businesses
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

San Francisco has now been added to the state's coronavirus monitoring list.

Mayor London Breed and public health officer Dr. Grant Colfax announced the development Friday morning.

The city's reopening will remained paused until conditions improve, which means indoor operations such as dining, hair salons, bars and worship services will remain closed indefinitely. Indoor malls and non-essential offices will also have to close immediately.

Officials said they will continue publich outreach to encourage residents to be cautious and follow recommended behaviors shown to slow the spread, including staying home if you are sick, wearing a face mask in public, staying at least six feet apart from others and maintaining good hygiene.

Expanded testing will also be key to slowing the spread, city leaders said.

That's why the city's Department of Public Health is issuing an order requiring private providers to expand testing, in order to reduce the strain on city-run testing sites that have been inundated in recent weeks. Health officials are also working to expand testing in communities with limited healthcare access including the Bayview, Tenderloin and Mission.

"We are living with COVID, and we all need to do our part to take basic steps to get this virus under control immediately," said Mayor London Breed. "If we want our schools to reopen, if we want to our small businesses to be able to operate, we all need to do the basics: limit our gatherings, cover your face in public, and wash your hands. We also know that we need to see more testing if we are going to identify cases quickly."

San Mateo is now the only Bay Area county not currently on the state's COVID-19 watch list but that may soon change, as the county has seen over 100 cases per 100,000 residents in the last two weeks, which is one of the state's main triggers to be added to the list.

"We’re in a very precarious position," San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa admitted.

If the county is added to the watch list and stays on it for three days, it would be required to close indoor businesses like restaurants, gyms and personal care services including hair and nail salons. Indoor worship services would also be prohibited.

In San Francisco, those businesses have remained closed since early in the pandemic, but they have been open for nearly a month now in San Mateo.

"It's sad news, it's heartbreaking news for the workers and the owners of the small businesses," Canepa said.

The supervisor put the stakes in blunt terms, calling on residents to take precautions to slow transmission.

"Wear your damn mask or people will die and the economy will collapse," Canepa said. "That's unfortunately what faces us."

Help stop the spread of #COVID19 & keep #SanMateoCounty off the @CAgovernor's County Monitoring List so additional industries/activities don't have to shutdown like hair salons & malls!➡️Wear a face covering➡️Stay 6 feet apart➡️Wash handsSee list here: https://t.co/FTykJucr1m

— County of San Mateo (@sanmateoco) July 13, 2020