San Mateo County health officer says COVID-19 watch list orders are 'misdirected'

The health officer says the watch list restrictions "will cause more harm than good."
SAN MATEO COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Mateo County health officer says the state's COVID-19 restrictions are "misdirected" and "will cause more harm than good." Saying the state needs to make immediate changes. His remarks come just days after state officials put the county on the watch list which has forced many businesses to close again.

With the new rules in place Vivian Nguyen was going to do her customer's nails outside and under a canopy but it blew over in the wind. Now her Bella Nails business is closed and there is no indoor service allowed. The county's health officer says that is not right and is blaming the state.

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"I believe they targeted certain businesses for closure but that was certainly not warranted based on the data that we have," says Dr. Scott Morrow. With all of the factors taken into consideration, not just positivity rate, Dr. Morrow says the county is stable, "I think it's a mistake to focus on single data points and I think that's what the state is doing and I think that's a mistake."

Others like County Supervisor David Canepa agree citing huge unemployment rates that will grow if the state doesn't make changes, "In San Mateo County it was 2.9 percent last year, it's now at 10.9 percent that means there are 47-thousand people that aren't working in San Mateo County."

Dr. Morrow says he agrees with indoor bar and restaurant closures. He goes on to say that there is no data showing that transmission rates are higher in locations like salons and barbershops compared to other opened businesses. Those in the beauty industry are livid.

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"It's been one of the most sanitary industries out there forever. Basically financially the beauty industry is being crippled right now" says Jaki Berry who is a beauty consultant employed by CosmoProf Division of Beauty Systems Group.

Nguyen agrees and says she's spent so much making the inside of her business as safe as it can be and now this, "it's really unfair for our industry to be completely shut down again."

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