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Message from the Mayor - March 27 - County Parks and Windy Hill Closures

Post Date:03/27/2020 6:22 PM

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

A few updates as we enter another weekend:

  1. At the end of the business day today, March 27th, San Mateo County will be closing all of its parks. The County parks have experienced a roughly 300% increase in usage over the past week; unfortunately, many visitors have not practiced physical distancing, and local facilities have been overwhelmed.

    Also, Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District (MROSD) will temporarily close Windy Hill Preserve. Many of you have voiced concerns over the heavy traffic in and around Windy Hill, and I share those concerns. Some background: Windy Hill, like many parks in the county, has seen a tremendous growth in usage, and that added traffic has created safety concerns in the immediate vicinity of the Preserve. Over the weekend, the massive influx of traffic to the beaches in Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, and elsewhere along the Coast led to widespread depletion of local food stocks, as people shopped while they were in Town. We’re trying to avoid all of these issues.

    Like you, I cherish Windy Hill, both as a resource for Portola Valley residents, and as a popular destination which we share with the rest of San Mateo County and the Peninsula. However, I am pleased that they have made this decision, and I will ask you to respect the closure by not visiting. The Town has many other recreational opportunities that lend themselves to social distancing – please walk to your local trail and enjoy!

    The Town is not currently planning to close our facilities (our trails, fields, and the Town Center campus). We are seeing modest traffic, most of it at Town Center, and most visitors at Town Center are practicing physical distancing. Feel free to use our fields and trails, just be smart and careful.

  2. Per staff conversations with the County, we anticipate that the current Shelter-in-Place order will be extended beyond April 7th (the school districts and some other groups have already announced closures until at least May 1st). Give some thought to what that extension might mean for your family and contact us if you have questions or concerns.

    Should the SIP order be extended, we will be reviewing our operations to determine what additional activities we can support over the longer term and updating you over the next week.

  3. There have been questions about COVID-19 transmission by dogs. Veterinarians in the County have stated that, contrary to some news reports out of Asia, dogs are not testing positive for COVID-19. Maintain safe distance (from humans) when out with your dog, and when you’re home, wipe your dogs and leashes down.

  4. The DMV is offering essential services through the mail and through virtual online offices:

  5. SMC Strong is collecting donations to help San Mateo County businesses and families. All money donated will stay inside San Mateo County and not one penny will go elsewhere, so you can be sure you’re helping your neighbors. To learn more about SMC Strong, medical donations and other information, visit

Again, we appreciate all you’re doing to keep yourselves and your neighbors safe and healthy. As a parent, I know many of you have done your best to help your kids with distance learning and fighting off cabin fever and boredom, and I know others of you are volunteering around Town to help those who can’t always help themselves; thank you for your work. Please do find some time to get outdoors if you can—with your household, and close to home (i.e. walking distance). Take care of yourselves, have a good weekend, and we’ll be keeping you informed next week and beyond.

Best Regards,
Jeff Aalfs, Mayor
Town of Portola Valley

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