A new stay-at-home order went into effect in Bay Area counties late last Sunday night in an attempt to limit the recent surge of COVID-19. Emeryville has seen four successive weeks of double-digit case increases after relatively modest data the two months prior.
The statewide order adds restrictions to a specified region if it reaches less than 15% intensive care unit availability. ICU availability in the Bay Area was at roughly 24% at the time the order was implemented, but on a trajectory to rapidly reach this threshold.
San Mateo County was the only Bay Area county that has opted to not implement a local shelter order citing more restrictions can actually have the opposite effect of what is intended. Some, including the U.S. Surgeon General, have pointed to a “pandemic fatigue” as the reason for the recent surge in case.
“Being in the purple tier, the state has already put significant restrictions on businesses and the public space in San Mateo County,” County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow said in a statement. “I think these greater restrictions are likely to drive more activity indoors, a much riskier endeavor.”
The state also announced a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew slated to remain in effect until December 21. Enforcing a curfew has come with its own challenges and the burden has fallen on our already taxed law enforcement agencies.
The EPD expressed reluctance in fining and enforcing the order in a November 21 instagram post. “The EPD will be taking an educational role when encountering mask or curfew violations.”
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Our Alameda County regional order required most non-essential businesses to close all indoor and outdoor operations. Temporary closures include outdoor dining, hair salons, museums, zoos, movie theaters, wineries, breweries and bars. Retail and shopping centers will have indoor operations permitted at 20% capacity.
Outdoor children’s play areas, initially among the list of closed activities, was recanted by the state shortly after. Research has determined that surfaces are “not the main way” the coronavirus spreads and playgrounds are safer than what was originally thought.
The loss of outdoor dining was especially hard for local eateries, particularly full-service restaurants and bars, as this has provided a bit of a lifeline to them. The Townhouse, Trader Vic’s, Honor Kitchen and Prizefighter Bar have all recently invested in upgrading their outdoor seating capacity to help withstand this pandemic.
Emeryville has already seen a rash of business closures and some are wondering if they can withstand another shut down without substantial relief. A federal relief package has been elusive as the two political parties have not been able to reach an agreement.
Emeryville’s newly appointed Mayor Dianne Martinez issued a City of Emeryville press release affirming the order and encouraging residents to abide the county order. “These stricter measures can save lives and improve conditions so that we can see our loved ones and re-open businesses sooner than otherwise.”