coronavirus

Final Hours Before San Mateo County Falls Under Regional Stay-at-Home Order

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While most of the Bay Area decided to close nearly two weeks ago amid surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, San Mateo was one of a few local counties that decided to wait it out.

For those counties, Thursday was about businesses trying to get in a few final sales before what they say will be a wave of job cuts and survival mode as the regional stay-at-home order kicks in at 11:59 p.m.

At Chiquitas restaurant in Redwood City, Dillon Ferreira enjoyed his last outdoor meal before the new restrictions take effect.

"It definitely sucks for the owners," he said. "It's an unfortunate position that these owners are being put in."

Half a mile away, there was a somber mood as Sean Parker, general manager at Milagros, may have signed the last paycheck for many of his workers.

"It's devastating for them to not be able to work, especially at this time of year, not be able to pay rent," he said.

While the county's health officer chose to wait for the state's stay-at-home order trigger — when a region’s intensive care unit bed availability falls below 15% — county Supervisor David Canepa pushed for a closure two weeks ago.

Now, with Seton Medical Center at zero capacity for ICU beds, he said the county has no choice.

"Right now, we are in life-saving mode," he said. "And life-saving mode means we’re going to have to do everything. If you can stay at home, stay home."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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