Discussing Next Steps with S.M. County Supervisor, David Canepa
May 28, 2020
At this week’s Realtor Roundtable, we sat down with San Mateo County Supervisor, David Canepa, to have a discussion about the county’s next steps towards reopening local businesses.
Supervisor Canepa made it clear in our meeting that while he feels the shelter-in-place order was, and continues to be, vitally necessary to public safety, he also understands that the economic fallout will only continue to worsen the longer this goes on. For this reason, we must push forward cautiously with a gradual plan to reopen our businesses.
We’ve done a phenomenal job, all of us, and now it is time to move [forward with some reopening]… and we have to move, because we are now facing a crisis that is economic, and if we don’t move forward in an expeditious manner, things are only going to get worse.”
To that end, he says that he believes the county will begin lifting certain restrictions on local businesses in a phased approach, starting with retail, either by the end if this week or early next week. A week or two after that, he suspects restaurants will be allowed to reopen their dining areas in a limited capacity. Of course, any businesses that are permitted to reopen will need to implement the appropriate safety practices, including the use of masks, gloves, and proper distancing. He noted that deciding how and when to reopen health and beauty shops like hair salons will be much trickier, given the inherent risks of their business.
Supervisor Canepa emphasized that even with this carefully phased reopening comes the risk of a spike in COVID-19 cases, and that the challenge ultimately becomes how to react if and when this happens. Do we shut things back down? Do we try to let it run its course as long as hospitals aren’t overburdened? These are the tough decisions our county gov. will be faced with should we see a surge in new cases.
Another thing to note is that while Governor Newsom has given CA counties the authority to begin reopening under the condition they meet certain containment standards, Bay Area counties are lagging behind some other CA counties due to our number of active cases and the increased risk posed by our population density. While it may be frustrating to see other parts of California reopening while we continue our strict lockdown, it is important that we proceed with caution given that we are at a much greater risk of a 2nd wave than more sparsely populated or rural counties.
With regards to real estate – while we have already been given the green light to conduct private showings of properties when necessary, we still aren’t able to host public open houses or do our weekly Broker Tour. The reality is that we are probably still a long ways out from being able to resume open houses, at least in the traditional sense with people coming and going as they please. However, there is some hope for being able to get Broker Tour back up and running soon. Weekly Broker Tour, which is essentially a Realtors only open house, can be conducted in a much more controlled and safe manner than public open houses. Foot traffic is inherently much lighter, and it is easier to convey and enforce proper social distancing requirements, as all of the tour details and instructions are distributed solely through our local Realtor Association. Broker Tour also allows us to cut back on the number of private showings by being able to gather information ourselves and more effectively narrow down the list of target properties we send to our clients. We brought this up in our discussion with Supervisor Canepa, and he was amenable to the idea of resuming Broker Tour if it could be done responsibly. He told us that he would bring it up in conversations with the County health officer that it could perhaps get bundled up with the lifting of restrictions on retail. Stay tuned!
Thank you for your time, Supervisor Canepa! And thank you for all the great work you continue to do on behalf of our community during these challenging times.