When Governor Newsom mandated regions implement a shelter-in-place rule if ICU bed space drops below 15%, most counties in the Bay Area jumped the gun and put the rule in place on their own. But not all. 

That has led to some confusion, but also some small businesses feeling like they’ve been given a temporary lifeline.

With customers still able to eat outdoors, employees are still busy at the Sandwich Spot in Redwood City — for now. 

“It’s very confusing, the state says one thing, the county a different thing,” said owner David Kassouf.

While most Bay Area counties have already put the governor’s stay at home order in place, San Mateo County has not, even as ICU beds fill up.

“We need to pause, we need to pump the brakes,” said county supervisor David Canepa.

He said he’s ready to put the order in place, concerned about residents of other nearby counties going there.

“Now, they’re coming from all those other counties and mixing with our residents,” Canepa said. “That’s my concern.”

But San Mateo’s health officer, along with Solano County’s health officer, say they’ll wait.

“The primary reason for us to be reluctant in going forward at this point is that we know it will  bring significant harm to small businesses and increase unemployment and health inequities,” said Bela Matyas, Solano County health officer.

A view some doctors agree with, saying the more business done outside, the better.

“You don’t want people to go inside to hide from the law, frankly, and so I think he’s taking the right approach,” said Dr. Monica Gandhi of UCSF.

County officials do admit they, too, are reaching the ICU bed threshold set by the governor. They say when the time comes, they’ll also mandate the shelter-in-place rule. 

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By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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