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City Information Related to COVID-19

Please be advised that City Hall and other City facilities will have changes in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The City continues to prioritize its residents and their needs. The City will continue to provide public safety and essential services.

City Hall: City Hall will have receptionist services from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and can be reached at 650-853-3100 or email and you will receive assistance from staff. The following counter services will continue via telephone or by remote appointment with City staff: 

  • Application review if your application has already been submitted; 
  • Business License review if your application has already been submitted; 
  • Meetings via Zoom Video Conferencing; 
  • General information inquiries. 

Police Operations: The Police Department will be doing business as usual.

Community Programs and Senior Center: The Senior Center will be closed until further notice. However, support services for the senior lunch program will be in place and meals will be delivered to seniors’ homes.

Parks: Parks will continue to stay open, however, restrooms, picnic areas, the skate park, basketball courts, and playgrounds will be closed.

Public Works:
  The front desk in the Corp Yard at 150 Tara Street will close to the public. All inquiries will be consolidated by calling 650-853-3189. Public Works will continue to provide services but are urging staff to limit public interaction.

Community and Economic Development: The office at 1960 Tate Street will be closed and the City will not be accepting new Planning or Building permit applications. Staff will continue to process existing applications and can be reached at 650-853-3189.

Code Enforcement Division: The City will respond to emergency inquiries only. Community members can call 650-853-3189 to speak with a City representative who will then determine if the situation warrants a Code Enforcement Officer to investigate the situation. 

City Council Meetings and Commission Meetings: City Council meetings are currently scheduled to proceed.  The public is encouraged to watch the live broadcast of the meeting on local channel 29; the MidPen Media website; on the City’s website, or on Facebook Live. You can go to the City’s website for all meeting updates and to sign up to submit comments.

More Essential City Contacts

Humza Javed, City Engineer 650-853-3130
Kevin Lewis, Public Works Inspector 650-815-9619

Jose Martinez, Chief Building Official 650-853-5908

Rachel Horst, Housing Project Manager 650-853-7252

Rent Stabilization
Victor Ramirez, RS Program Administrator            650-853-3157

Daniel Berumen, Senior Planner 650-853-3151

Jay Farr, Maintenance Division Manager                650-853-3105 

Michelle Daher, Management Analyst 650-853-3197

Community & Economic Development/Public Works Administration
Amy Chamberlain, Management Analyst               650-441-5547

Local Stores and Businesses

San Mateo County has set up an email where local businesses can email their questions in regards to legal interpretation of the health order and what this means for their operations: 

Please see SAMCEDA's website and social media sites for more info to share on this and other resources for our local businesses.


Please click on the following links to receive more information about COVID-19 updates and best practices for prevention.

California COVID-19
San Mateo County Health
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
CDC - Advice on How to Protect Yourself
MidPen Housing - Message

Food Programs

Nuestra Casa
Second Harvest (food bank)


PBS Outbreak Explanation
Mark Rober - How Germs Spread

Contact Information for Other Agencies

COVID Call Center 2-1-1

Ravenswood City School District 650-329-2800 or 650-325-3015

Sequoia Union High School District        650-369-1411

East Palo Alto Sanitary District 650-325-9021 or 650-688-0495

Eastside College Prep 650-688-0850

For agencies not listed, please make a web search for more information.

August 4, 2020 Update

California’s Department of Public Health announced this week that it will now require providers and laboratories performing COVID-19 tests to expand the data they are reporting. The new regulations will continue to require the reporting of race and ethnicity data and now will require reporting a patient’s gender identity and sexual orientation. Expanding reporting will help to understand how COVID-19 impacts various communities. If you test positive for COVID-19, San Mateo County wants to remind you that public health workers will contact you to ensure you have everything you need to stay home safely and prevent exposure to others.

July 23, 2020 Update

Red Cross Offers Virtual Family Assistance for Loss of Loved Ones
The American Red Cross has assembled a team of volunteers trained to provide virtual support to families and communities who have suffered a loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic through its Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC).

Visit redcross.org/VFAC to access this resource with special virtual programs, information, referrals and services to support families in need. The VFAC can also connect people to other community resources that may be available. People without internet access can call toll-free at 833-492-0094 for confidential and free assistance.

July 21, 2020 Update

The Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 today to provide $2 million to support local child care providers who have taken a financial hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new Child Care Relief Fund serves twin goals: help providers remain open – particularly those in areas of the county serving families with low incomes – and to ensure working families have access to quality child care.

Under the formula approved today, licensed child care centers would be eligible for grants of up to $25,000 and family child care homes would be eligible for grants of up to $10,000.

Centers across San Mateo County will be eligible for relief through a weighted point system. Priority funding will be targeted to providers who serve vulnerable families (those receiving CalWORKS subsidies, for instance), participate in County initiatives such as The Big Lift and meet other requirements.

July 13, 2020 Update
Effective July 13, 2020, ALL counties must close indoor operations in these sectors:
Dine-in restaurants
Wineries and tasting rooms
Movie theaters
Family entertainment centers (for example: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages and arcades)
Zoos and museums

Additionally, bars, brewpubs, breweries, and pubs must close all operations both indoor and outdoor statewide.

July 9, 2020

The County of San Mateo’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) remains open to coordinate countywide response and communications in response to the situation. The EOC’s Joint Information Center will provide status reports every Tuesday and Thursday until further notice. Today’s report:

COVID-19 Testing Available in Three Locations, July 13 - 18

With more testing locations and days available throughout the county, getting a COVID-19 test is easy and is available to any resident including those without symptoms and insurance. Appointments can be scheduled up to three days in advance, but no earlier, through Project Baseline, the state’s free testing provider in San Mateo County, at https://bit.ly/2xk73OL. Also, consider seeking a test at your own private provider or health care network. Many are available at no cost to you.

For the Verily/Project Baseline sites, look for a location and day that is convenient for you. All sites are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.:

July 13 – San Mateo

San Mateo County Event Center 1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo

July 14 & 15 – Daly City 

Jefferson Union High School District Office 699 Serramonte Boulevard, Daly City

July 16 & 17 – East Palo Alto 

2160 Euclid Avenue, East Palo Alto

July 2, 2020 Update

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30.


July 1, 2020 Update
California State Parks is implementing safety measures to reduce the density of visitors over the Fourth of July weekend (July 3-5) in the State Park System. All state beaches in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will be temporarily fully closed to the public in alignment with county public health orders. State Parks will also be temporarily closing vehicular access at all beaches in Marin, Monterey, Orange, San Diego, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz and Sonoma counties. View list of park units affected.

Governor Gavin Newsom issued an executive order extending authorization for local governments to halt evictions for renters impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, through September 30.

June 25, 2020 Update

More Sites, Dates Make COVID-19 Testing Readily Available in County

San Mateo County continues to expand access to COVID-19 testing on a rotating basis at sites in Daly City, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay and East Palo Alto.  Testing is available to any resident at no cost and appointments can be scheduled up to three days in advance, but no earlier, through Project Baseline, the state’s no-cost testing provider in San Mateo County, at https://bit.ly/2xk73OL

Learn about the COVID-19 testing process and see the testing schedule through July 24 at https://www.smcgov.org/covid-19-testing  Testing dates for the week of June 28 are:

Monday, June 29
San Mateo County Event Center
1346 Saratoga Drive, San Mateo

Tuesday, June 30
Cunha Intermediate School

600 Church Street, Half Moon Bay

Thursday and Friday, July 2 & 3

Everest High School
455 5th Avenue, Redwood City

June 17, 2020 Update

With the completion of the variance process with the State of California, San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new order to align the county with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap. Businesses in San Mateo County will now follow the state’s schedule for reopening but must adhere to the local order’s COVID-19 safety measures and follow state guidance.

The local shelter in place order of June 4, 2020, has been rescinded and replaced with a new health officer order emphasizing individual behavior and the practices businesses must follow as they resume operations. The new order is effective immediately.

The June 17, 2020, order limits gatherings to no more than 50 people, outlines social distancing and face covering requirements, allows for social bubbles, and requires businesses to implement a social distancing protocol and written health and safety plans.


The requirements for businesses are outlined in the order and appendix. [link]

With the local order taking immediate effect, according to state guidelines, the following businesses may now produce and post health and safety plans and resume operations:

•                Dine-in restaurants

•                Hair salons and barber shops

•                Casinos

•                Family entertainment centers

•                Restaurants, wineries and bars

•                Zoos and museums

•                Gyms and fitness centers

•                Hotels (for tourism and individual travel)

•                Cardrooms and racetracks

•                Campgrounds and outdoor recreation

Per the state’s guidelines, personal services like nail salons, body waxing, and tattoo parlors may create safety plans and resume operations on June 19, 2020.

Additional information from the state may be found here:


Businesses are also required to adhere to industry-specific guidelines from the state, which may be found here:


And here:


As the state continues to allow additional activities and businesses in variance counties, the local order intends that those activities and businesses will automatically be allowed in San Mateo County, subject to additional behavioral restrictions to reduce the rate of transmission COVID-19. The health officer will continually assess the order and may modify it if the risk associated with COVID-19 increases.


As the county follows the state Roadmap, face covering and social distancing requirements remain in place. Face coverings are required inside or in line to enter businesses such as grocery stores and laundromats, in hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, dentists, and facilities providing veterinary care, and when waiting for or riding on public transportation, including ride shares, Caltrain, and BART.

The order requires drivers or operators of any public transportation, private car service, or ride-sharing vehicle to wear a face covering while driving regardless of whether a member of the public is present due to the need to reduce the spread of respiratory droplets in the vehicle at all times.

The order does not require a face covering while driving alone or with members of the same family or household in a vehicle not used commercially.

For businesses, the order requires employees, contractors, owners, and volunteers to wear a face covering in the workplace and off-site when they are interacting in person with the public or working in any public space, like a reception area, restroom or service counter — regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time.

Face coverings are also required where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution, working in or walking through common areas such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities, and in any room or enclosed area when other people, including co-workers, are present (except for members of the person’s own household or residence).

Wearing a face covering is recommended but not required for outdoor recreation such as walking, hiking, bicycling, or running. But social distancing requirements — including maintaining at least six feet of separation from all other people to the greatest extent possible —still hold. For outdoor activities, the order recommends carrying face coverings at all times, since they are required to be worn when six-foot distancing is impossible, such as when passing on a narrow path.

Any child aged 2 years or less must not wear a face covering at any time because of the risk of suffocation. The order does not require that any child aged 12 years or less wear a face covering.


A social bubble is a group of twelve or fewer people from different households or living units who have agreed to socialize only with members of their group. A social bubble must be maintained for a minimum of three weeks, and people can only be members of one social bubble at a time. While face coverings and social distancing are always recommended, members of a social bubble do not have to adhere to these requirements when they are with members of their social bubble in outdoor settings.

The health officer has requested that the sheriff and all police chiefs in the county ensure compliance with and enforcement of this order. Violation of any of its provisions is considered an imminent threat and menace to public health, constitutes a public nuisance, and is punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.

•          State of California Resilience Roadmap (website)

•          Text of the Heath Officer’s Order (PDF)

•          Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A) (PDF)

Health Officer orders and statements are found at the San Mateo County Health website:


June 16, 2020 Update

If you receive a phone call with a caller ID that indicates “California COVID Team” it is likely our Public Health contact tracing staff trying to reach you. Official contact tracers will only ask you about your medical symptoms and the people with whom you have been in contact.  All information provided to Public Health through contact tracing is strictly confidential and will be used for public health purposes only.

Official contact tracers will never ask for your Social Security number, financial or health insurance information.  Questions about immigration status will not be asked.  If someone claiming to be a contact tracer asks for your Social Security number or any kind of financial or health insurance information or tries charging you money or fees, it is a scam!

You should report COVID-19 related scams in San Mateo County to the District Attorney’s Office by calling (650) 363-4651 or visiting https://da.smcgov.org/consumer-and-environmental-protection, or by contacting your local police department.

June 10, 2020

San Mateo County’s Great Plates Delivered program that provides delivery of nutritious meals from 60 local restaurants to 1,298 qualifying county residents has received additional funding and will continue to July 10, 2020.  Senior applications to the program are being accepted at (800) 675-8437.

The program meets the needs of residents who may have difficulty accessing meals while sheltering in place and supports local restaurants impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding is through state and federal emergency management agencies.

To qualify you must be 65 and older, or age 60-64 at high-risk from COVID-19, are COVID-19 positive or have been exposed to COVID-19 and live alone or with one other eligible adult.

June 4, 2020 Update

an Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow today revised the shelter in place order to allow outdoor dining and charter boat operations with safety measures and other restrictions to ensure social distancing. It also amends the guidelines for funerals.

The order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 6, 2020.

Restaurants and other food facilities that were previously licensed to provide sit-down food service may provide outdoor, sit-down meals by working with local agencies to ensure compliance with local laws, regulations, and permitting requirements. Restaurants and other businesses (like retail) wishing to operate in the public right of way must also work with their governing jurisdiction on any additional requirements needed to support community safety

Appendix-C of the shelter in place order outlines the safety measures from the State of California and the County of San Mateo that operators must follow if they wish to provide outdoor dining.

For restaurants and other food facilities reopening after having been completely closed for a month or longer, operators must ensure prior to opening that all equipment, plumbing, and ventilation systems are operational and that food stored on site during closure has been maintained at proper temperatures and is not contaminated (if in doubt, it must be discarded). Additional measures are outlined in the appendix.

State guidelines apply to all restaurants and other food facilities regardless of whether they were ever closed. The steps are outlined in the document, “COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Dine-In Restaurants.”

Operators are also required to designate COVID-19 supervisor/person(s) in charge to ensure the implementation of the food facilities’ health and safety plan and Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A). The designated COVID-19 supervisor/person(s) in charge must always be present on-site during business hours.

In addition to the cleaning and sanitary measures, tables must be arranged to ensure that no customer is sitting within six feet of any other customer at a separate table. Patrons at a single table are limited to no more than six, and they must be from the same household or living unit.

Lounge areas, like fire pits, can be occupied by multiple households or living units if six-foot distancing is maintained. Entertainment events are not allowed.

Facilities that open for outdoor dining must offer curbside pickup, takeaway, and/or delivery service alternatives. Lines for pickup or takeaway must be in a separate area from the outdoor dining area to prohibit patrons from unnecessarily accessing the outdoor dining area.

Alcohol may be sold to patrons in conjunction with a meal, but it may not be sold independently, and bar areas must remain closed to customers.

Patrons are required to wear a face covering except when sitting at a table.

Charter Boats
Appendix-C also outlines the social distancing and safety measures for charter boats to operate with passengers.

The number of people aboard the boat must be limited so that at least six feet of spacing can be maintained at all times. Rod holders must be spaced at least six feet apart from each other, and boats must prohibit the shared handling of equipment, such as bait and tackle or binoculars.

Passengers must not shake hands, share food or drinks, or engage in any physical contact with each other or with the captain and crew. The boat and equipment must be washed after each trip. Bathrooms must be sanitized after each use and contain hand sanitizer or soap and water. Passengers are permitted to bring hand-held lunch coolers only — no large coolers are allowed.

The crew, captain and passengers are required to wear face coverings at all times except when eating or drinking.

Passengers of a single household or living unit are not subject to the social distancing requirements on the boat. They are not required to maintain a six-foot distance from each other, can have rod holders closer to each other than six feet, and can share equipment, food or drink with each other, but they must wear face coverings in the presence of captain or crew (face coverings are optional for children 12 and prohibited for those two and under).

The new order also permits indoor funerals with up to 10 individuals present. Outdoor funerals are limited to 25 or fewer.

Frequently Asked Questions about interpretation and implementation of the Shelter in Place Order can be found at https://www.smcgov.org/shelter-place-faqs

June 2, 2020 Update
A countywide two-day curfew in San Mateo County will go into effect today, June 2, 2020, beginning at 8:30 p.m. and ending at 5 a.m. to help maintain the health and safety of residents and prevent property damage and looting.
The curfew order requires all non-exempted individuals in the county to remain indoors between the hours of 8:30 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, and Wednesday, June 3, 2020.

Exempted individuals include:
  • Peace officers, firefighters, emergency operations personnel, the National Guard or other military personnel deployed to the area;
  • Individuals traveling to a home, workplace or the airport;
  • Individuals traveling to obtain emergency medical care or to care for another individual in another household;
  • Authorized members of a media organization;
  • Individuals experiencing homelessness and without access to a viable shelter.
The curfew applies to the entire county, both the unincorporated areas and each of its cities. Cities can implement stricter curfew based on their local needs.
Workers can come and go to their workplaces during the curfew, but businesses cannot remain open to the public during the hours of the curfew, with the exception of medical facilities, including pharmacies and urgent care.
Individuals exercising their right to free speech and lawful assembly during non-curfew hours are reminded to maintain social distancing and wear a face covering as required by the San Mateo County Health Officer’s order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Read the emergency proclamation and curfew order here: https://bit.ly/2Xt6lZC

May 29, 2020
San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow today issued a revised shelter in place order to allow, with restrictions and safety measures, places of worship to hold services and retail stores to allow customers inside. The order, which goes into effect on June 1, 2020, further aligns the County with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Resilience Roadmap.
The County’s health order also removes the previous limitations on access and activities at beaches in San Mateo County. Beaches may now operate normally, as long as beachgoers adhere to social distancing and face covering guidelines.

For childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children, the stable group time requirement has been decreased from four weeks to three consecutive weeks.
This gradual and measured resumption of activity is designed to manage the overall volume, duration, and intensity of person-to-person contact to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases in San Mateo County and neighboring counties.  

Detailed in Appendix C-1 of the order, places of worship and other businesses now allowed to operate must draw up safety plans, as required by the State of California. Places of worship must encourage vulnerable staff and congregants (those above age 50 or with chronic health conditions) to work from home or participate virtually. Attendance at religious services and cultural ceremonies is limited to a maximum of 25 percent of building capacity or 100 individuals, whichever is lower. Eating and drinking inside the facility is prohibited, as are after-services gatherings. Children must remain in the care of those in their household or living unit and not interact with children of other parties. Activities and services for children (such as shared play areas) must be discontinued if social distancing of at least six feet cannot be maintained.

Places of worship must mark six-foot increments at a minimum to establish where individuals should stand, and aisles should be designated as one-way to support social distancing.

Retail stores must provide curbside or outside pick-up and delivery options, if feasible. Those providing in-store shopping must, in the required health and safety plan, identify the number of shoppers that can be accommodated in a way that allows shoppers and employees to maintain social distancing. Stores must also implement measures to enforce that limit.

Guidelines for car parades and protest gatherings are outlined in Appendix C-2.

While the order is intended to align San Mateo County with state guidelines, there are additional local requirements for how business is performed. San Mateo County’s order continues to require development, implementation, and posting of a social distancing protocol. The local order also continues to require that everyone who can work from home be assigned to work from home.

May 26, 2020

Board of Supervisors Extends Eviction Moratorium and Suspends Bag Fees
The Board of Supervisors, at today’s meeting, extended the temporary moratoriums on evictions for non-payment of rent by those directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic for residential tenants countywide and for small business commercial tenants in unincorporated San Mateo County through June 30, 2020.

See residential eviction moratorium resolution https://bit.ly/2X5lf8A

Read commercial eviction ordinance https://bit.ly/2zAANId

At the same meeting, the Board voted to temporarily suspend the ordinance code enacted in 2012 that prohibited retailers in most San Mateo County cities from providing reusable bags to customers without a charge. The Board’s action follows a Health Order that was issued on May 15, 2020 which prohibits customers from bringing bags when shopping as a means to limit the spread of COVID-19.  

See bag fee suspension resolution https://bit.ly/2XzEgPg

May 18, 2020 Update

Per the current Shelter-In-Place order, all construction will be allowed to resume, provided that builders comply with the San Mateo County health and safety guidelines from the California Department of Public Health (please see links below).  The office at 1960 Tate Street will remain closed until further notice.  The Building Division will continue to process existing applications, and new applications as outlined below.  Applicants should continue working with staff to schedule building inspections.  The Building Division can be reached at 650-853-3189.

Effective May 18th, 2020; the City of East Palo Alto will resume limited planning services. The office at 1960 Tate Street will remain closed. The City will be accepting new Planning applications and will continue to process existing applications. Please see detailed instructions below. The Planning Department can be reached at 650-853-3189.

May 14, 2020 Update

East Palo Alto will launch a two-day testing site located at East Palo Alto’s Lewis and Platt YMCA on Friday, May 22 and Saturday, May 23 from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Testing is available free of charge for everyone including those who are undocumented. Testing will be administered to individuals through both drive-up and walk-up, please enter testing site alone. Multilingual staff members will be available.

Testing is free and available without restriction to anyone, though an appointment is required in advance. To make an appointment, residents can visit Project Baseline’s website at https://bit.ly/2xk73OL

May 11, 2020 Update

Limited to 200 or fewer vehicles, with many restrictions Redwood City – San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has issued a new order permitting certain “highly regulated” gatherings of vehicles, designed to allow schools to host modified graduation ceremonies. The order takes effect at 11:59 PM on May 11.  

Please click here for the order

May 6, 2020 Update
County Parks

On Monday, May 4, the San Mateo County Parks Department reopened 13 of its 23 parks after being closed since March 27.

Many of you are ready to go out and experience the great weather but make sure you are aware of which parks are opened and closed. Additionally, we must make sure we are aware of precautions in place that will help us prevent the spread of the Coronavirus.

Visitors are required to hike single file on narrow trails, keep six feet apart from others, not congregate with people who aren’t from their household, and carry face coverings.

Playgrounds, picnic areas, campgrounds, fields, visitor centers, and some restrooms and parking lots remain closed.

To prevent the congestion on trails and in parking areas that occurred last month prior to park closures, the department has converted some single-track trails to one-direction routes, opened a limited number of parking lots, prohibited road parking, and kept some trails closed to bikes. Dogs must be on leash in parks and trails where dog walking is allowed.

The 13 parks will open 8:00 a.m. and close at 7:00 p.m. daily. They include some of the peninsula’s most popular parks and are located throughout the county and near heavily populated areas where walk-in access is possible. See the full list below.

To Reopen May 4

To Remain Closed


  • Restrooms are closed. Los baños están cerrados.
  • The parking lot is closed, walk-in access is available via Bay Road. El estacionamiento está cerrado, el acceso sin cita está disponible a través de Bay Road.

May 4, 2020

Governor Gavin Newsom announced the launch of a first-in-the-nation “Great Plates Delivered” program, a meal delivery service for California’s older adults. 

Great Plates Delivered has two purposes:

  1. Help seniors and other adults at high risk from COVID-19 to stay home and stay healthy by delivering three nutritious meals a day, and 
  2. Provide essential economic stimulus to local businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 crisis.
  3. Learn more about the program by calling the number nearest you: County of San Mateo (Hotline): 1-800-675-8437

May 1, 2020

Effective May 4, 2020, construction will be allowed to resume in the City of East Palo Alto, subject to the conditions specified in the Order under Appendix B-1, Small Construction Project Safety Protocols; and Appendix B-2, Large Construction Project Safety Protocols. A secure mailbox has been set up at the 1960 Tate Street offices for Building Plan submittals and building permit payment may be mailed or dropped off.
Building Inspections

Operations will resume as follows: Building Inspections will be scheduled for Tuesdays and Thursdays only.

We will conduct a combination of onsite and virtual building inspections.

Onsite inspections (non-virtual) on the following types of projects (this is not all inclusive, every project can be unique):
  • New buildings
  • Tenant Improvements
  • Additions
  • Remodels (unoccupied structures)
Virtual inspections will be optional for the following (this is not all inclusive, every project can be unique):
  • Insulation inspections
  • Drywall inspections (non fire-rated)
  • Minor rough frame inspections (e.g., bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels,)
  • Water heater inspections
  • Furnace Inspections

Please contact the Building Division for additional requirements prior to commencing your project (650) 853-3189.

Planning Applications

Effective May 18, 2020, the City will be accepting new Planning applications. City staff are confirming the instructions and details of how these electronic applications may be submitted. These service changes will be announced next week. Planning staff will continue to process existing applications and can be reached at 650-853-3189. 

April 29, 2020

The seven Bay Area Public Health Officers who ordered a shelter in place in mid-March will extend the orders through May 31 while some restrictions are eased and tools to strengthen containment of COVID-19 are put into place.

The social distancing intervention has slowed the increase of new cases and prevented the anticipated medical surge. As restrictions are eased, it is critical to ensure that growth of cases can be sufficiently contained to protect the health and safety of our community. All construction activities, certain businesses that operate primarily outdoors, and some outdoor activities will be allowed to resume with specific conditions.

Certain outdoor businesses can also begin operating again, and people can visit those businesses to perform work or obtain goods, services, or supplies.  This includes wholesale and retail nurseries, landscapers, gardeners, and other businesses that primarily provide outdoor services as set forth in the order.  Outdoor businesses do not include restaurants, cafes or bars, regardless of whether they have outdoor seating.

Other activities that can resume under the new order include residential moves and the use of certain shared outdoor recreational facilities that were previously ordered closed, like skate parks, but not others that involve shared equipment or physical contact.

April 27, 2020 Update

The Public Health Officerof San Mateo County will issue revised shelter-in-place orders that largely keep the current restrictions in place and extend them through May. The new order will include limited easing of specific restrictions for a small number of lower-risk activities. At this stage of the pandemic, however, it is critical that our collective efforts continue so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved together. Hospitalizations have leveled, but more work is needed to safely re-open our communities. Prematurely lifting restrictions could easily lead to a large surge in cases. The Health Officers will also release a set of broad indicators that will be used to track progress in preparedness and response to COVID-19, in alignment with the framework being used by the State of California. Future easing of restrictions requires that each jurisdiction and various sectors continue to rapidly build critical infrastructure and systems to respond to and control the spread of coronavirus infections and to ensure the health care system’s ability to meet demand.

April 24, 2020

Paycheck Protection Program

The Small Business Administration will resume accepting Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.


Applications for the San Mateo County Strong Fund are projected to go live early next week. Pleases start preparing your documents now. 

Documentation is REQUIRED for all eligibility criteria.  Needed documents may include the ones listed below but please visit the San Mateo County Strong Fund site for more details and information.

  • Valid business license
  • Bank Statements
  • Current Profit and Loss Statements
  • IRS or FTB tax returns
  • Proof of rent or mortgage, utility, healthcare premiums or payroll processing document


About the SMC Strong Small Business Grant Program

  • Grants up to $10,000
  • Grants can pay for payroll, operations, ongoing expenses or other costs associated with COVID-19 impacts
  • Eligibility criteria - documentation REQUIRED for all eligibility criteria
  • You may qualify for this grant regardless of whether you applied for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Economic Disaster Impact Loan (EDIL) and/or other grants
  • Available in English, Spanish and Chinese on website
  • Applications only accepted online (to comply with physical distancing orders)
  • No citizenship requirement

April 22, 2020 Update

The City Council of the City of East Palo Alto unanimously authorized the City Manager to execute a License and Grant Agreement Amendment with Project WeHOPE for the RV Safe Parking Program. The amendment extends the term of the License and Grant Agreement for one additional year. This also permits Project WeHope to install up to two temporary structures on the Tanklage site at 1798 Bay Road, for use as emergency housing.

Additionally, the City Council allocated $250,000 in Housing Successor funds to operate the program for an additional year. You can visit WeHope’s website at https://www.wehope.org/all-programs for more information on the RV Safe Parking Program, along with other programs the organization offers.

April 21, 2020 Update

The San Mateo County Health Officer order requiring the public and workers at essential businesses to wear face coverings is enforceable beginning at 8 a.m. tomorrow (April 22).

More Information

April 20, 2020 Update

Facebook has pledged to give $100 million in small-business grants to help struggling businesses emerge from this pandemic — and $15 million in grants will be distributed in the Bay Area. Facebook is also placing a special emphasis on outreach to and investment in eligible minority and women-owned businesses due to the disproportionate negative impact that COVID-19 will have on these businesses, their employees, and the communities that they serve.
Please see the details below on upcoming webinars Facebook are offering.
Monday, April 20, 2020 **Bay Area Specific**
12pm - 12:30pm PST
Wednesday, April 22, 2020
10am – 11am PST
11am – 12pm PST
Friday, April 24, 2020
11am – 12pm PST

April 17, 2020
The City will be launching a LIVE Virtual wellness program that will run from April 22 through May 31. This program is designed for East Palo Alto residents of all ages and abilities. Please click on the link below for the brochure. It is important to maintain a healthy and active lifestyle as we observe the Shelter in Place order.

East Palo Alto LIVE Virtual Program

April 16, 2020 Update

The City of East Palo Alto City Council will hold its regular meeting next Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30 p.m. via Zoom. Please click on the link for more information.


April 13, 2020 Update

San Mateo County Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow has revised his order to extend school closures and student dismissals from regular school attendance through the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

The full text is here:


April 8, 2020 Update

East Palo Alto City Council took further actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These actions help address questions about support for Recreational Vehicle (RV) dwellers, planning/building entitlements, and what qualifies as essential vs. non-essential construction.

RV Safe Parking Program to Remain

The requirement that RV Safe Parking Program participants vacate the parking site during daytime hours will be temporarily suspended, allowing participants to park their RVs on-site up to 24 hours a day. This will enable participating households to remain in place and comply with the “Shelter in Place” Order, reducing the health and safety risk associated with the transmission of COVID-19. Once that order is lifted, the existing provisions of the RV Safe Parking Program will apply. 
ProjectWeHOPE and City Staff are working closely to identify funding for the program’s additional programming during the COVID-19 emergency, including 24-hour security and enhanced facilities for washing on-site. ProjectWeHOPE staff have also indicated they will be working to identify other families and individuals in East Palo Alto who are not currently registered under the RV Safe Parking Program who may need assistance. ProjectWeHOPE has done an incredible job in providing additional support to our East Palo Alto RV dwellers during this COVID-19 pandemic.

Planning/Building Entitlements Extended Through September 30, 2020

All existing and unexpired development entitlements (Planning Approvals/Building Permits) are now extended through September 30, 2020. Currently, residents are unable to obtain approvals to advance their respective projects due to the closure of the City’s Community and Economic Development Department (CEDD). The extension helps mitigate the impacts of the current public closure. While the City’s CEDD is closed, staff continues to process applications that were submitted to the City prior to the “Shelter in Place” Order.

Essential vs. Non-Essential Construction

Currently, all residents are required to stay at their place of residence except for essential purposes. Consistent with the County’s guidance, the City Council declared that:

  1. Only essential construction activities are allowed to commence in the City.
  2. Interested parties must submit their request to the appropriate City staff for review to determine the nature of the project on a form provided by the City.
  3. The City’s Chief Building Official is authorized to consider each request and make a determination based on the submitted materials.
  4. Any construction that does not need entitlement (e.g. putting a tile floor) and is done within the confines of a homeowner’s property (without a subcontractor, laborer, or mass gathering) is not prohibited.

April 7, 2020 Update
Do you own a small business in East Palo Alto? We need your voice to better help you! Please fill out the San Mateo County COVID-19 Business Economic Impact Survey:


April 6, 2020 Update

The City has released version 2 of a comprehensive FAQ for community members. Staff will update as changes occur. Feel free to use the link below as a resource.


April 3, 2020 Update

Bay Area health officials now recommend that everyone cover their nose and mouth with pure non-hospital grade facial coverings when leaving home for essential activities such as travel to medical appointments, grocery stores, or pharmacy visits.
  • Simple cloth facial coverings such as bandanas, fabric masks, and neck gaiters are acceptable for this purpose. Fabric covers and bandanas should be washed and reused.
  • Hospital-grade medical masks such as N-95 or surgical masks should be preserved for health care workers in clinical settings and first responders.
  • To keep surgical masks useful for as long as possible, users should:
    • Fold the covers in half, with the inside of the mask protected 
    • Put the mask in a brown paper bag while eating, drinking, and taking it home after your shift.
    • Wear the mask until it's soiled or broken.
  • The purpose of the recommendation is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 by people who may not know they have the virus. Some people who have tested positive for the virus have experienced minimal or mild symptoms. This recommendation is in accordance with the guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health on Wednesday, April 1, 2020, and will help protect the public, your coworkers, and your family.

April 2, 2020 Update
The City has made some changes over its park facilities closures. The following is now closed at all parks:
  • Picnic Areas
  • Skate Park
  • Basketball Courts
  • Restrooms
  • Playgrounds

April 1, 2020 Update

The Community Programs and Services Division has designated a phone number specifically for seniors to call for lunch services and any other request. The State of California has also set up a phone number for Seniors seeking assistance.

EPA Senior Hotline

California Senior Hotline

March 31, 2020 Update

Health officers in seven Bay Area jurisdictions are extending a previous stay-at-home order through May 3, 2020 in order to preserve critical hospital capacity across the region. The previous three-week order was set to expire on April 7.

While the prior order has been effective in reducing the rate of transmission of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it is not enough. There has been a significant increase in the number of positive cases, hospitalization and deaths from COVID-19, which is beginning to strain healthcare resources.

You can see more information at https://www.smchealth.org/coronavirus

March 30, 2020 Update

Below are five organizations that are running food programs. You can call them or click on their link to visit their website for more information.


March 27, 2020 Update

The City Council unanimously enacted an emergency eviction moratorium to temporarily protect tenants from being displaced from their homes during the COVID-19 public health crisis. The emergency eviction moratorium applies to every residential tenant in the City of East Palo Alto that has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It largely mirrors the County emergency eviction moratorium, with a notable difference in the period of time the tenant needs to provide notice to the landlord and in period of time the tenant needs for repayment of rent.

Key Features of “Temporary Moratorium on Residential Evictions for Non-Payment of Rent by Tenants Impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic”:

  • Prohibitions: After March 26, 2020, landlords are prohibited from issuing evictions as defined by the ordinance. Landlords are also prohibited from charging or collecting late fees for delayed payment covered by the ordinance. Any evictions served prior to March 26, 2020 but not yet expired are covered.
  • Notifications: If a landlord wants to evict a tenant for non-payment of rent or for a no-fault termination of tenancy, they much first provide tenants written notice of the ordinance. Within 30 days of receipt of the landlord’s written notice, a tenant must notify the landlord in writing of their lost income and inability to pay full rent due to COVID-19 related reasons.
  • Payments of Rent: Landlords can seek payment of any outstanding rent after termination of the State of Emergency, and tenants must remain current on any rent due after termination of the State of Emergency. Tenants have within 180 days of the termination of the State of Emergency or within 180 days of their actual displacement by execution of an unlawful detainer judgement, whichever is later, to pay any unpaid rent that is delayed in payment.
  • Violation of Ordinance: Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor and punishable as such. Tenants can seek various forms of relief, in the event of a landlord’s violation of the ordinance, including injunctive relief, money damages of not less than three times actual damages (including damages for mental or emotional distress), and any other relief the Court deems appropriate. The ordinance serves as an affirmative defense to eviction in the event that an unlawful detainer action is commenced in violation of its terms.
  • Effective Date: The emergency eviction moratorium is in effect until May 31, 2020, unless further extended by the City.

Who is eligible to be protected by the emergency eviction moratorium?

You may be protected if you are a residential tenant who experienced any of the following:

(i)            Loss of household income as a result of being sick with COVID-19, or caring for a household or family member who is sick with COVID-19;

(ii)          Loss of household income as a result of a lay-off, loss of hours, loss of business, or other income reduction resulting from COVID-19 or the federal, state or local government response to COVID-19;

(iii)         Loss of household income due to compliance with the Shelter in Place Order or a recommendation from a government agency to stay home, self-quarantine, or avoid congregating with others during the State of Emergency;

(iv)         Loss of household income as a result of caring for minor children affected by school, pre-school and/or childcare closures due to the State of Emergency;

(v)          Incurred substantial medical costs related to COVID-19; and

(vi)         Suffered any other substantial financial hardship caused directly by COVID-19 or the governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic

What is allowed in the tenant’s written notice to the landlord?

To qualify for delayed payment, a tenant must notify the landlord in writing of their lost income and inability to pay full rent and provide documentation to support the claim. The ordinance is flexible and allows tenants to provide any written documentation, which can include email or text communications to the landlord, bank statements, pay stubs, medical documentation, information from the employer, affidavits, and more. 

I am an eligible tenant – can a landlord issue a late fee for non-payment of rent and does that get added to what is due in rent after the ordinance’s termination date? 

No. Landlords should not charge or collect late fees for a delayed payment as defined in the emergency eviction moratorium.

I am an eligible tenant – can my credit be impacted by my delayed payment?

No. Landlords should not submit any derogatory comments to credit reporting firms if you pay your delayed payment rent within the 180 days.

Does this mean eligible tenants will be relieved from paying any rent that was due during the State of Emergency?

No. Eligible tenants have within 180 days of the termination of the State of Emergency or within 180 days of their actual displacement by execution of an unlawful detainer judgement, whichever is later, to pay any unpaid rent that is delayed in payment.

Does no-fault eviction apply to owner move-ins?

Yes. If someone were to contest an eviction based on an owner move-in, Section (3)(a)(2) of the City’s ordinance would protect them with a defense.

Do no-fault evictions apply to evictions that expire or occur while the emergency eviction moratorium is in effect?

Yes. Section (4)(a) of the City’s emergency eviction moratorium states that “Endeavors to evict that are prohibited by this Ordinance include issuance of a three-day notice to pay rent or quit or a notice of no-fault termination of tenancy after the effective date of this Ordinance, or attempting to enforce a termination of tenancy through an unlawful detainer filing based on any notice issued but not yet expired prior to the effective date of this Ordinance” (emphasis added).

If you are a tenant in East Palo Alto and received a notice of non-payment of rent that indicates you are being evicted and have 60 days to move out, if the 60 days falls within the period of the emergency eviction moratorium coming into effect (i.e. it does not expire before March 26, 2020), that eviction is covered and the landlord must cease to evict you.

Does this emergency eviction moratorium cover tenants that were already in the process of an eviction not related to COVID-19?

No. If the tenant was already far along the process in an unlawful detainer action and notices were already filed, the emergency eviction moratorium does not cover them. Tenants can reach Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto at 650-326-6440 for assistance on their case.

What is the difference between the County’s and the City’s emergency eviction moratorium?

The County’s emergency eviction moratorium only provides a 14-day timeframe for residential tenants to provide written notice to their landlords, while the City’s moratorium extends the timeframe to 30 days. The County’s emergency eviction moratorium only provides tenants with 90 days after the emergency eviction moratorium expires to pay back the full amount of rent they owe. The City’s emergency eviction moratorium extends the timeframe to pay any outstanding rent to 180 days.

Does our emergency eviction moratorium put our city in greater liability?

There is sufficient authority given by the Governor of California for cities to execute temporary eviction moratoriums.

If you need housing assistance, please contact Samaritan House South at (650) 294-4312 and Community Legal Services in East Palo Alto at (650) 326-6440.

March 26, 2020 Update
The City created a comprehensive FAQ for community members. Staff will update as changes occur. Feel free to use the link below as a resource.


March 26, 2020 Update
The City of East Palo Alto will hold a City Council special meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. You can find the agenda in this link: City Meeting Portal

You can also watch meeting on:

Channel 29



March 24, 2020 Update

American Water Customers can call call 650-322-2083 to discuss payment options. You can make payments by mail, online, or by phone:

American Water
DEPT LA 21449
Pasadena, CA 91185-1449 



March 23, 2020 Update

The following stores will give priority to senior citizens to shop during the following hours:

East Palo Alto Target (1775 Bayshore Road)

Wednesday’s 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m.

Menlo Park Safeway (525 El Camino Real)

Tuesday - Thursday’s 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Trader Joe's (720 Menlo Park Avenue and 855 El Camino Real)

Everyday 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

March 22, 2020 Update

The meal delivery program is operating and the City is delivering meals to seniors. The City is working with the Senior Advisory Committee and community members to reach out to more seniors. If you know any seniors that want to be contacted for the meal program or other senior services then please have them fill out this form.

Senior Response Form

March 21, 2020 Update
If you are a person (or know of a person) that is 60 years and older then please fill out the form below. The City is ensuring that we can assist with needs, such as picking up groceries, prescriptions, and having access to vital information and updates.

Senior Response Form

March 20, 2020 Update
Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom  issued a stay at home order to protect the health and well-being of all Californians and to establish consistency across the state in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please click here for more information.

March 19, 2020 Update - Mayor's Message Regarding COVID-19

Please click on the link to see Mayor Regina Wallace-Jones' message to the community of East Palo Alto.

Mayor's Message

March 19, 2020 Update

Park restrooms and playgrounds will be closed to the public.

March 17, 2020 City Council Meeting Update

The City Council passed a resolution for local emergency affirming the City Manager's existing authority to help with issues during the state of emergency. The City Council will vote on additional emergency measures, which may include:

  • Changes to the City Manager’s budgetary authority during this state of emergency;
  • An emergency moratorium on evictions;
  • Protections for tenants, seniors, children, RV dwellers, small businesses, nonprofits, homeowners, and other impacted groups