Santa Clara County will issue a new public health order this week to allow retail establishments to offer storefront pickup. The revised mandate also lets manufacturing, warehousing and logistical operations that support such businesses to resume.
The amended rules also permit some outdoor activities to resume, including car parades, outdoor museums, historical sites and public gardens.
The revised order—now available online—goes into effect on Friday and requires businesses to post a visitor information sheet to let customers know what measures have been enacted to make the facility safe.
“We are counting on these businesses to consistently follow social distancing protocols and public health guidance to protect their employees and customers as these activities resume,” a statement from the county reads. “COVID-19 continues to pose a very significant risk to our communities, and that continued vigilance is necessary to ensure that we do not see an increase in spread as more activities resume.”
Public health officials say the relaxed restrictions come only because of “the steadfast commitment” of residents practicing social distancing, which has led to “sustained progress” in containing COVID-19.
For a full incubation period—that is, about two weeks—since construction, outdoor business and some open-air activities resumed, the county has seen the number of new cases stabilize, even with increased testing.
Meanwhile, the number of hospitalized patients with COVID-19 has stayed even or declined, while hospital capacity is sufficient for an uptick in patients who need care.
Hospitals have bolstered supplies of protective equipment, although there remains a need for more in some places. And the county has increased capacity for case investigation, diagnosis and contact tracing.
Though more businesses are allowed to get back to work, the county and neighboring Bay Area jurisdictions note that residents are still required to stay home as much as possible, wear face coverings and follow the same rules that slowed the outbreak.
“In collaboration with local and regional partners, we are taking measured steps to enable businesses and activities to reopen safely,” county Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody said. “We will continue to closely monitor each of the indicators, as well as other data, to assess how COVID-19 is circulating in our community. These data about the health and safety of residents will guide us as we gradually reopen more activities without eroding the significant progress we have made to date.”
She added: “We recognize that COVID-19 and the measures taken to prevent its spread have profoundly disrupted the lives of all members of our community. We share the sense of urgency, and will reopen activities as soon as they can appropriately resume.”
In a news release this morning, Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese said the region can move forward with some business reopening because of public cooperation.
“The county is ready to support the businesses now allowed to provide curbside retail, manufacturing and childcare as they prepare to reopen with the required safety measures to protect workers and the public from COVID-19,” he said in an emailed announcement. “At the same time, the [county] Public Health Department will carefully monitor coronavirus cases and other data to ensure that we continue to make progress toward reducing the impact of the virus. Continuing to practice the measures that brought us to today’s action ... seems to be the best strategy we have.”
County officials will livestream a press conference about the new order at 1:30pm today.