Updated 2:15 p.m.: San Mateo County will shut down once again starting Thursday night after the Bay Area region fell below the state’s ICU capacity threshold of 15 percent on Wednesday.

The region as a whole is now reporting 12.9 percent ICU capacity. After county officials declined to join several Bay Area counties in shutting down preemptively earlier this month, the new restrictions will now hit, further limiting industry and travel starting Thursday at 11:59 p.m. and extending for a minimum of three weeks. 

Under the new stay-at-home order, retail operations will be reduced to 20 percent capacity, with grocery stores to operate at 35 percent capacity. Hotels will be open only to house essential workers or people experiencing homelessness, or accommodate COVID-19 recovery. Restaurants will be closed except for take out and delivery, and nonessential offices must go 100 percent remote. 

In addition, all hair salons, museums, movie theaters, sporting events and bars and wineries must close by Friday morning.

On Wednesday, the county’s dashboard reported 110 patients in the ICU with nine beds still available countywide. 

With cases increasing dramatically in the county, County Manager Mike Callagy said at a press briefing Wednesday that residents ages 20 to 40 continue to drive the current reported case rates, up nearly 44 percent in the past week. Gatherings account for more than 90 percent of the spread of the disease and more than half of transmission is asymptomatic, County Health Deputy Chief Srija Srinivasan said.

“The numbers are startling,” Callagy said. “... We’re seeing the outcomes from Thanksgiving here.”

Callagy said the county’s compliance team will be moving into more strict enforcement to ensure businesses are following the state’s stay-at-home order, and the county is working to house increasing numbers of people who are unable to isolate.

As the year comes to a close, Callagy urged residents to not gather during the upcoming holidays.

“We’re very, very concerned about Christmas gatherings,” Callagy said. “We’re extremely concerned that we will see a surge within a surge.”

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