Peninsula business owners and residents reflect on post-pandemic future – CBS San Francisco
SAN MATEO (KPIX) — On Saturday, those heading to the San Mateo County Event Center were focused on volleyball, not vaccinations.
It was the first time in several months that the site did not serve as the county’s main booster and vaccination clinic. Earlier in the week, the county unplugged the clinic, which only served 120 people on its last day of operation. The county has been shrinking the site for several weeks as demand for vaccines has waned, a spokesperson said.
Going forward, San Mateo County will focus on community vaccination and booster sites that have regular hours and are located throughout the county. As of this week, 93.5% of the county’s eligible population has been vaccinated, according to a spokesperson.
“I think we’re moving from an emergency response with everyone on deck to a more individualized and personalized response,” said UCSF infectious disease expert Dr. Peter Chin-Hong. “We’re doing pretty well after this push but, of course, we don’t know what’s going to happen next. Next doesn’t mean it will be in the next month or two. Next can mean next winter or next fall.
Dr Chin-Hong says COVID isn’t just going to go away once the surge subsides. However, this wave is almost over.
“We can kind of take advantage of the next lull and hopefully this lull lasts for a long time. But we really need to reduce these deaths before we can think of it as another flu,” he said. “You know the storm will come at some point because COVID isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s still circulating around the world and not enough people are immune, so we’ll definitely see it again.
With the situation calm, COVID restrictions are easing on the Peninsula and most of the Bay Area. All counties except Santa Clara County will lift the indoor mask mandate for those vaccinated after Feb. 15. Individual business owners will be able to require masks if they wish.
“I really haven’t decided yet,” said Lewis Cohen, owner of B Street Books in San Mateo. “I’m kind of waiting to see what other companies are going to do and what my customers seem to want.”
Susan Engle, who lives in San Mateo, is happy to see that the term will end in a few days.
“I will be very happy. I think I will always wear a mask and wear a mask in certain situations, but it will be good to take them off,” she said. “If I’m in the gym and there’s has someone right next to me on the elliptical, sweating it out, I think I’m going to put the mask on.”
Dr. Chin-Hong says he’s not going to completely ditch the mask inside yet.
“For my part, for example, I will always wear my mask in a crowded indoor setting, until we reach sea level in COVID,” he said. “We’re almost there but not quite there yet.”