Santa Clara County says it has dropped plans to begin allowing restricted indoor gatherings, which public health officials had anticipated allowing as of Monday, July 13.
The county today also reminded all businesses to submit new online social distancing plans by Monday so they can take the necessary steps “to ensure business can be conducted in as safe a manner as possible.”
The decision to pull back on plans to allow small indoor gatherings was made this week, “in light of the recent increases in COVID-19 cases and hospitalization,” said Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody in a statement.
'The original order approved by the state on July 7 would have allowed indoor gatherings of up to 20 people. The new directive on gatherings prohibits all indoor gatherings but will still allow outdoor gatherings of up to 60 people, following social distancing guidelines, she said.
As of 5pm Friday, Santa Clara County reported 5,863 COVID-19 cases, with 189 new cases reported in the previous 24 hours.
The number of hospitalizations in the county grew to 112, with 19 new admissions. Another 23 hospitalized patients are under investigation because of COVID-19 symptoms, pending results from virus tests.
“Our top priority is always the health and safety of everyone who lives or works in Santa Clara County,” Cody said.
She had issued the initial order July 2, but its status was in limbo for three days after state public health officials on July 4 initially rejected the plan as incomplete.
“The new order was created with harm reduction in mind, understanding that COVID-19 will be with us for a while and we must change the way we live and do business to prevent us from infecting one another,” said Cody in a statement today.
“While the order allows more businesses and activities to resume, this must be done with care and adherence to the new safety and distancing protocols.”
The county reminded all businesses, including those already open, that they need to submit new forms outlining their individual social distancing protocols to the county by Monday if they want to remain in operation, or reopen.
The new rules are required of any business that plans to resume operations Monday, the county said. “All businesses must complete the new Social Distancing Protocol prior to reopening, or to remain in operation,” Cody said.
The mandated online form and checklist, available at www.covid19prepared.org, must be signed under penalty of perjury. This form is essential to operating legally under the new Health Officer Order because it:
- Identifies the person responsible for ensuring compliance with the Protocol (this will usually be an owner or manager)
- Confirms that the business is posting proper signage
- Confirms that the business is properly training its workers
- Confirms that the business is putting measures in place to protect its workers and the public, including mandatory face coverings
- Confirms that the business has an adequate plan in place if a worker tests positive for COVID-19
- Certifies under penalty of perjury that the information submitted is true and accurate – providing false information about completed steps is a crime.
The new order, new mandatory directives for business sectors and activities, and answers to Frequently Asked Questions are available online. County staff will be available over the weekend at the COVID-19 Business Call Center at 408.961.5500 to help businesses comply with the new requirement. They can answer questions about the new regulations and assist in submitting the required social distancing protocol.
“The new order and directives for businesses—with strict measures to keep workers and customers safe—is a roadmap through our new normal,” Supervisor Mike Wasserman said. “Many businesses have been waiting for months to reopen and want to do so in as safe a manner as possible—these required protocols give them the means to do so.”
Under the prior order, most businesses and activities in the community had been allowed to reopen. The new order allows other activities to resume, including hair and nail services, gyms, and outdoor gatherings, but only with strict social distancing protocols in place, consistent use of face coverings and significant capacity limits.
It also requires all employers to immediately report cases of COVID-19 tied to their workplaces to local public health officials.
The order continues to stress that people are all safest when they stay home, and that people over age 70 and those with serious underlying medical conditions should continue to leave home only for essential needs.
The county’s COVID-19 dashboard (which you can peruse here) is in five languages—English, Chinese, Spanish, Vietnamese and Tagalog.