Outdoor dining and in-store retail will be allowed in Santa Clara County starting Friday as part of new loosened shelter-in-place restrictions.
The new order, which was announced by health officials on Monday afternoon, will also allow a number of other businesses to operate, such as manufacturing, pet grooming, house cleaning and other low-contact services such as shoe or watch repair.
Summer camps, child care, open-air activities without physical contact and outdoor cultural or religious gatherings of no more than 25 people also have the go-ahead.
The county still encourages social distancing and will require re-opened businesses to follow certain safety protocols.
“Each decision we make involves difficult trade-offs and affects the community’s wellbeing in many different ways,” public health officers from six Bay Area jurisdictions said in a new release from earlier in the day. “As we open additional sectors, we are relying on businesses to consistently follow social distancing protocols and public health guidance to protect their employees and customers. Bay Area residents should still stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings, frequently wash hands, stay home when feeling ill, get tested if exposed, and follow the other precautions that have helped our region make such outstanding progress to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
As Santa Clara County begins to re-open, health officials will continue monitoring the five indicators around containment that they announced last month. Those include increasing testing while decreasing the positivity rate of tests, a steady decline of new infections, a low hospitalization rate, containment of outbreaks in nursing facilities and an increase in case investigations and contact tracing.
“The global pandemic is ongoing, and we must continue to protect the health and wellbeing of our entire community, especially those most vulnerable to serious illness and death from COVID-19,” Santa Clara County Public Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. “Public Health is about ensuring health in every sense of the word: from diseases like COVID-19, and from social and economic impacts on health too. For all those reasons, we have chosen to be measured in how and when we reopen.”
In a statement, county Supervisor Dave Cortese praised the “community’s cooperation” in following previous shelter-in-place guidelines.
“This is only a victory if we keep up our vigilance to stop coronavirus from spreading,” he said. “That will be even more difficult in the days and weeks ahead.”