Today the county announced the Stay at Home Order which impacts all nine Bay Area counties will go into effect tomorrow, Thursday December 17th at 11:59 PM. The Bay Area has fallen below the 15% ICU capacity threshold to 12.9%.
All private gatherings are prohibited, sector operations must shut down except for critical infrastructure and retail, and 100% masking and physical distancing is required in all others. Business sectors required to close will include: bars, wineries, personal care services (such as nail salons and spas), indoor recreation, indoor entertainment, barber shops and hair salons. Businesses that can stay open include: critical infrastructure, retail, restaurants (for takeout and delivery only), and schools with waivers. Nonessential travel and use of hotels and short-term rentals for leisure is banned. Businesses allowed to stay open such as retail and grocery stores, will be limited to 20% capacity or 35% for stand-alone grocery stores. Outdoor fitness classes and activities such as hiking, walking, cycling etc. will still be allowed. The order will be in place for a minimum of 3 weeks and will not be lifted until the ICU capacity meets or increases beyond 15%.
Cases in the county have risen significantly over the last few weeks, beginning with cases attributed to Halloween followed by a severe spike in cases connected to Thanksgiving gatherings. The county believes the majority of cases are the result of people socializing with friends and family which is much harder to prevent and regulate by the government. While the order will be in effect for 3 weeks, concerns continue to mount that people will not head warnings and will still gather for Christmas and New Year’s. As a result, ICU capacity may decline further, causing the stay at home order to be extended.
The county and the chamber is sensitive that these regulations put small businesses in dire circumstances as many rely on shoppers this time of year, and especially in 2020. The chamber asks you shop small as much as possible to help our businesses survive. Ordering online or from big box stores may be slightly cheaper and more convenient, however making the effort to shop small could quite literally determine what businesses are around in 2021.