COVID-19 impact: San Mateo County rolls back reopening, forces some businesses to close or pivot outdoors

DALY CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Another Bay Area County is taking a few steps back due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Starting Sunday, many Indoor businesses and churches in San Mateo County have been told to close or move outdoors because of spiking numbers of COVID-19.

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Sunday morning service at St. George Orthodox Cathedral in Daly City was held in the parking lot.

"It's weird, it's different, for now, it's ok," said parishioner Jenna Elgelda.
Father George Jweinat said he got no official word from San Mateo County that he'd have to move his mass outdoors.

"I listened to the news and heard it," Jweinat said.

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San Mateo was the final Bay Area county to be added to California's COVID-19 watch list on Wednesday and since it's been 3 days, the state is ordering for indoor businesses that cannot operate outside to close by midnight.

So the church pivoted with a few pop-up tents.

"It's not a big deal, but here in Daly City, as you know it's freezing this morning," said Jweinat.

The county health order took other churches by surprise.
Our Lady of Mercy in Daly City posted a note on the door, the church was closed. The mass was streamed on Facebook.

But many parishioners didn't get the message and showed up.

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"I'm feeling sad, I can't go to my house of worship," said parishioner Jackie Thomsen

"In my opinion, they don't want people to go to church, that's the only thing I can think of," said parishioner Michael Sarafian.

After spending multiple days on the state's watch list with spiking numbers of COVID-19, the county was forced to tell many indoor businesses to close or move outside. That includes barber shops, hair and nail salons, gyms and shopping malls.

Kelly Maguire owns The Farm, a private gym in San Mateo. He's equipped to do outdoor workouts with clients but fears the new health order could keep them away.

"Most people are afraid, I suspect it's going to take a year to get people's minds wrapped around this so they're not afraid anymore," said Maguire.

Like many small businesses, Maguire says he'll adapt.

Back at St. George's, Father Jweinat will order more tents for next weekend's services outdoors. but first, a prayer.

"We're praying to put this thing behind us," said Jweinat.

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