SAN MATEO, Calif. (KRON) – San Mateo County has modified its shelter in place order to allow for what they are calling vehicle based gatherings.

Students picking up their cap and gowns at San Mateo High School say at this point the plan for their class of 2020 is to have a virtual graduation ceremony.

“You know they made a hard decision to close the schools down and let us be safe, I’m grateful for whatever, I just want to graduate,” one graduate said. 

Now, the San Mateo County Public Health Officer has signed a modification of the shelter in place order meant to give students a way to celebrate this right of passage together, sort of.

The new order allows for events in San Mateo County, like high school graduations, to take the form of a drive-in movie, but unlike a tailgate party, there’s a lot of rules to these now allowed car gatherings.

The events would have to be held in a place large enough like parking lots  so there’s enough social distancing room between vehicles, only people from the same household could be in a vehicle together, gatherings of 10 cars or more require security or a police presence, and there’s a limit of 200 cars per event.

“One car at a time people can get out to for example walk across the stage for the photo op and correct collect their diploma and take some nice pictures but then they have to get back in their car and when you’re out of their car people need to make sure they have their face coverings on,” Claire A. Cunningham said.

The Chief Deputy County Council says they wanted to give students a way to celebrate their achievement and give them a sense of closure for what’s been a challenging year.

This order was written with graduation ceremonies in mind, it’s not limited to them. 

Church services, for example, could be held in this manner, what it does not allow for our impromptu parking lot parties plans need to be submitted in advance.

There’s the form where hosts details their gathering plan, which they will have to give to local law enforcement for review.

Video shows another thing not allowed under this order any type of parade which is still not considered essential travel.

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