Students respond to San Mateo County’s return to purple tier


Julian Nasser

Downtown Burlingame’s Pizza My Heart posted their requirements for service.

Isaac Bostonmaer, Staff Reporter

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases, San Mateo County falls back into the purple tier, increasing restrictions previously in place over the summer.

As of Nov. 28, after only two weeks of being in the red tier, San Mateo County declared its return to the purple tier — the highest risk level — in California’s four-tiered, color-coded response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Within the last week, COVID-19 cases in California peaked, reaching over 17,000 new cases in a single day, an all-time high for the state. 

San Mateo County is now one of nine Bay Area counties in the purple tier, while Marin County remains in the red tier, the only Bay Area county to do so. Transitioning to higher risk levels will cause businesses to significantly reduce operations or close completely.

Important modifications resulting from moving to the purple tier include: 

  • Retail stores and malls are capped to a maximum capacity of 25%.
  • Restaurants are closed for indoor dining.
  • Gyms, places of worship, movie theatres, amusement parks, bars, breweries, live audience sports and offices are now closed.


Many students believe that the blueprint California is following to create a safe environment is the right decision and they plan to cautiously continue to visit the businesses that remain open. 

“I do believe that the harder restrictions are the right move given the spike in cases. It probably is going to lessen the amount of cases compared to leaving less restrictive rules,” junior Julian Nasser said.

Three Burlingame students safely walk across Burlingame Avenue and its shops. (Julian Nasser)

With the spike in COVID-19 cases, students are understandably nervous about their uncertain future. A common concern voiced by students, as cases continue to rise, is their safety when taking advantage of available facilities. 

“Restaurants and retail shops … are places I go to, and for the most part, I feel really safe there … depending on how severe Covid gets in the future, I’ll probably consider limiting myself from riskier places,” junior Andrew Haroun said. 

Students expressed that it is important to remain vigilant about wearing face masks and social distancing to prevent themselves and their loved ones from falling victim to COVID-19. However, Burlingame students have always valued the school’s proximity to Burlingame Ave. and supporting Burlingame’s local businesses. With more COVID-19 restrictions, students are concerned about what effect this will have on the small businesses they enjoy in Burlingame. 

“The only negative that I can see coming out of these changes is that smaller, local businesses can go out of business,” Nasser said. “Once in a while, I notice restaurants that have to shut down because of the lack of customers.”

COVID-19 has dramatically affected the world’s economy, with an equally devastating impact on local businesses in Burlingame. Many small businesses are struggling to maintain their business operations as their sales dramatically decrease due to governmental restrictions. Additionally, patronage has decreased for many businesses as a result of the public’s unease of using retail and public facilities.

“All in all, I’m a bit bummed that restrictions are getting tighter again only after such a short time, but I completely get why we’re doing this. I think it’s the smart thing to do. It’s always better to be safe than sorry,” junior Nikki Kolev, said.


With the tighter restrictions, public health officials are reminding residents to continue social distancing and wearing masks, in hopes that cases will begin to drop.