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Posted on: August 28, 2020

Special eNews - COVID-19 Update - Blueprint for a Safer Economy

Read the latest Special eNews regarding the States Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

Governor Newsom announced today a new blueprint for reducing COVID-19 with revised criteria for loosening and tightening restrictions on businesses and activities. This new framework, entitled Blueprint for a Safer Economy, is effective as of Monday, August 31, 2020.

San Mateo County is currently in the Purple tier. Beginning Monday, hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to operate indoors in San Mateo County. Additionally, some businesses and activities with modifications such as all retail and shopping centers can open at a maximum 25 percent capacity.

Together we can help San Mateo County move further into reopening. Remember to wear face coverings when in public, wash your hands frequently, maintain at least six feet of distance when in public, and limit mixing with people outside of your household.

See below for information on schools, and details of the new reopening framework for the state.


Schools in the Widespread (purple) tier are not permitted to reopen for in-person instruction, unless they receive a waiver from their local health department for TK-6 grades.

Schools can reopen for in-person instruction once their county has been in the Substantial (red) tier for at least two weeks. Schools must follow these guidelines when they reopen or if they have to close again.

Revised State Framework: 

We’re providing the key factors here. For complete information visit the California Department of Public Health’s website.

The state is moving to a uniform framework with four color-coded tiers representing levels of restrictive/less-restrictive guidelines for counties:

  • Purple ("widespread") - most non-essential indoor businesses remain closed
  • Red ("substantial") - some non-essential indoor businesses operations are closed
  • Orange ("moderate") - some business operations are open with modifications
  • Yellow ("minimal") - most business operations are open with modifications.

The primary metrics to move through the tiers toward less restrictions are coronavirus case rate and test positivity. Local county health officials may choose to be more restrictive than this framework. This framework also notes signals of concern, including impacted healthcare capacity that may lead toward state intervention.

Rules of the new framework:

  1. California Department of Public Health will assess indicators weekly. The first weekly assessment will be released on September 8, 2020.
  2. A county will remain in a tier for a minimum of three weeks before being able to advance to a later tier.
  3. A county can only move forward one tier at a time, even if metrics qualify for a more advanced tier.
  4. If a county’s case rate and test positivity measure fall into two different tiers, the county will be assigned to the more restrictive tier.
  5. City local health jurisdiction (LHJ) data will be included in overall metrics, and city LHJs will be assigned the same tier as the surrounding county.

Initial step applied on August 28, 2020:

  1. Each county is assigned to a tier based on an adjusted case rate and test positivity from the prior two reporting periods.
  2. This tier status will be effective on Monday, August 31, 2020.
  3. If a county is initially assigned to Purple Tier 1 and has met the criteria for a less restrictive tier the prior week, the county only needs to meet the criteria for a less restrictive tier for one more week to move to the Red Tier 2. (For the September 8, 2020 assignment, a county does not need to remain in the Purple Tier 1 for three weeks. For all subsequent assessments, a county must remain in a tier for three weeks and meet the criteria to advance as described below.)

Advancing toward less restrictions: 

  1. A county must have been in the current tier for a minimum of three weeks, except as described in the "Initial step applied on August 28, 2020" section above.
  2. A county must meet criteria for the next tier for both measures for the prior two consecutive weeks in order to progress to the next tier.
  3. In addition, the state will establish health equity measures on activities such as data collection, testing access, contact tracing, supportive isolation, and outreach that demonstrate a county’s ability to address the most impacted communities within a county. Additional measures addressing health outcomes such as case rates, hospitalizations and deaths, will also be developed and tracked for improvement.

Reverting toward more restrictions: 

  1. During the weekly assessment, if a county’s adjusted case rate and/or test positivity has been within a more restrictive tier for two consecutive weekly periods, the county must revert to the more restrictive tier.
  2. At any time, state and county public health officials may work together to determine targeted interventions or county wide modifications necessary to address impacted hospital capacity and drivers of disease transmission, as needed.
  3. Counties will have three days to implement any sector changes or closures unless extreme circumstances merit immediate action.


Industry specific guidance:

All businesses, including those with modified operations, must continue to adhere to San Mateo County’s health order requiring social distancing and face covering and the safety measures outlined in the appendix.

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