While COVID-19 cases continue to spike, more protective restrictions have been implemented because of San Mateo County’s official designation into the Purple Tier.
With the virus surging across California, San Mateo County’s move into the Purple Tier was highly anticipated. This is labeled as the most restrictive tier in California’s COVID-19 monitoring system, further limiting the activities residents may participate in.
These new restrictions call for all indoor businesses and activities to relocate outdoors or temporarily close. Places of worship, movie theaters, gyms, museums, and restaurants must abide by this rule. Additionally, all retail and shopping malls must limit to no more than 25% capacity.
“The restrictions have mainly affected my dance schedule because I’ve been dancing at my studio in person since summer,” said Carolyn Wang, a senior. “Now that we’re in a really restrictive tier, we’re unable to practice together, so we have to go back to Zoom classes.”
To reduce the chance of transmission between different households, the new wave of restrictions prohibits all indoor gatherings and limits all outdoor gatherings to no more than three separate households.
According to the California Department of Public Health, gatherings during the hours between 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. are more likely non-essential and are often social activities. These gatherings have a lessened probability of complying with COVID-19 preventive measures. Consequently, residents are no longer permitted to gather with other households between the hours under the new tier restrictions.
These measures are not only essential to slow the rapid spread of the virus, but these measures help prevent the Intensive Care Units from reaching their maximum capacity. ICUs cannot operate to their full extent when they’ve exceeded their capacity limit, intensifying the need to take the imperative precautions.
“It’s pretty clear at this point that we can easily have our healthcare system overwhelmed,” said Charles Stone, the mayor of Belmont. “People in need of intensive care will not be able to receive the treatment they need if our healthcare system is overloaded […] that’s why we’re taking the steps, not just to slow the spread, but to ensure that our health care system is in good condition.”
Although there are vaccines in progress, the uncertainty surrounding their accuracy and date of distribution still remains. Considering that the public does not have access to these vaccines, it is becoming increasingly more urgent that people follow the precautionary measures and abide by the orders that are in place.
Chianti Raddavero, a sophomore, said, “All of this news of a possible vaccine coming out leads people to assume that we loosen the restrictions, but it’s important to realize that vaccine is not a cure.”
The behaviors and actions portrayed by society will determine the outcome of the pandemic, making it a necessity that everyone does their part in stopping the spread.
“This isn’t a joke, a drill, or a hoax. This is very real and very serious,” Stone said.