Santa Clara County Relaxes Health Restrictions to Allow Curbside Retail, Manufacturing

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.

County of Santa Clara to Provide Important Update on Coronavirus Response | 2020-05-18

Announcement Regarding Significant Progress on COVID-19 Indicators and Next Steps for ReopeningFull transcript:

Posted by County of Santa Clara Public Health Department on Monday, May 18, 2020


  1. The only reason that anything is being eased is that people weren’t going to put up with it much longer.

  2. I am sheltering in place for at least one more month. There is no vaccine or treatment for this virus. I am not going to risk the ones I love, my elderly parents, just because! Are we really in a better place than when we started the shelter in place? I am not going to attend public’s events or restaurants until there is a vaccine. You can do most of your shopping online!

    • > I am not going to attend public’s events or restaurants until there is a vaccine.

      We’re all eager to hold you to this pledge, Fexxy.

      There may NEVER be a vaccine.

      There is no vaccine for HIV.

      And it is not clear that there is even a vaccine for seasonal flu. The annual flu shots seem to be only 40-60% effective and have to be done every year. Is it really a “vaccine”?

      • Bubble, HIV is transmitted sexually. COVID-19 is transmitted by people talking near you. People with HIV treatment live for many years. Those with Corona virus… is a gamble. I usually dislike big public events; I hate shopping. I miss the coffee shops. I am making good coffee at home. I am saving lots of money by staying at home. I am loving this Shelter in place. I am missing Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta, and Rome. Mexico lindo y querido…Calabria…one day!

    • We entered Shelter In Place to flatten the curve, not wait out the virus. We flattened the curve, so in that regard “yes” we are in a better place.

    • Online shopping is an option for some. Target too. But at the cost of small and large businesses. I can buy new games at Target, but not at Gamestop in the same strip mall. Ditto for clothes, but not fabrics to make them. No dental or vet appointments unless and emergency. Too many convoluted examples to list.

      Happy you’re able to save money – but what about those that are prevented from making money?

      Increasingly it looks like history will show COVID as a shining example where irrational fear caused massive self-inflicted and avoidable harm.

      • Well Taxpayer, I am enjoying it. Stay at home if you can people. Do not trust politicians. Work and save money; do not spend it because worst times are coming unfortunately. Those at the top will have the biggest fall! Sorry Trump!

        • You say don’t trust politicians, but those ARE the people telling you to stay home!
          I agree with you by the way, and that’s why I am so adamant about going out and restarting the economy. Not to mention supporting the small local stores largely owned by people who are considered minorities and people of less means. But you do you, just return the favor and let me do me.

          • I don’t listen to politicians. I read history, observe patterns, and apply knowledge. Through history, shelter in place orders have worked to counterattack these types of pandemics. Those places that opened their economies too soon are locking down again. Economies will be harmed all over the world. More people will die of collateral damage than by the virus itself. Trump is crazy but also good at convincing those who believe in him and using them to create the pressure he wants to impose on others. Democrats are the same. Most politicians care more about their own benefit than the people. There will be a vaccine soon. This because of the high level of contagion, harm to economies and financial gain to those who create it. While this was not an intentional biological attack, there will be the new modern times weapons of war. United States demonstrated to be quite vulnerable to these threats.

        • Stay at home / SIP isn’t a panacea. Recent tracing data shows an increase in positive test results – primarily among those that claimed they did. Theories abound. Muti-family, intergenerational, and multi-tenant buildings top the list.

          Also interesting how the media conflates positive tests with sickness. Even in same household, one may have mild symptoms while others show none. Yet all tested positive.

          Supervisor Wasserman mentioned his experience at a farmers market that mirrors mine at Safeway. Customers picking up and them replacing items in the produce section. Or the dozen or so waiting outside the recently reopened Rosegarden Starbucks – and at the outside tables. If ever yellow taped, customers removed it.

          Previously Spain was cited as a COVID basket case. With new ‘gold standard’ epidemiological studies reported yesterday, Spain’s initially cited 12% fatality rate is about one tenth of that. Higher than seasonal flu, but in line with the 1968 Hong Kong flu, swine flu, or some other severe outbreaks. And certainly nothing like the 1918 Spanish flu.

          BTW, Acapulco’s appeal ceased decades ago and no longer a cruise ship destination. Lots of cholera outbreaks in Acapulco bay due to poor sanitation. After the highway to Mexico City was built, crime soared in Acapulco and Guerrero in general. Sad – glad to have travelled there multiple times when safe. Some gated and guarded resorts outside the city along the Pacific coast. Essentially luxurious prison camps.

          Mexico has some wonderful destinations elsewhere and some of the nicest people in any country I’ve visited.

          • > After the highway to Mexico City was built, crime soared in Acapulco and Guerrero in general.

            They should have put in a BART line instead of a highway. That would have eliminated the crime problem.

          • Too many words and too many lines. History repeats for those who do not want to learn. The end of Trump is near!

  3. SCC ought to relax restrictions even more than other counties, Alameda County will surpass SCC in number of cases this week.

  4. Yes – the curve has been flattened. But not clear it needed to be. We never approached capacity. Now the goal posts have moved with politicians like Chavez and Cortese exploiting it for their political gain. But at an enormous cost.

    About 40% of the 135 SCC fatalities have been in extended care facilities. Over 90% of the COVID deaths had significant underlying health issues. Hypertension and obesity top the list. And the actual cause of death is likely inflated as Colorado’s adjusted numbers show. But even if 135 is correct, let’s look at the numbers.

    In practice, human life in the US is worth about $1.3M based on payouts. SCC paid about $400K in one jail death and $700K in another. $1.3M * 135 = $175.5M.

    The concensus among economists is that SIP cost about 10% of our GDP in the first 2 months and 5% / month for partial partial lockdowns. SCC (2018) GDP was $319B and higher now.

    Sara Cody, an unelected official, has cost us about $31.9B so far. SCC’s estimated deficit is at least $285M and growing. Of course there’s an argument about prevention saving lives – but no credible data claims the opportunity cost would be 180 times higher without prevention.

    Regardless of the estimate, we need to decide what limits should be placed on unelected government employees dictatorial power to cripple our economy, our prosperity, and our children’s future.

    • > Sara Cody, an unelected official, has cost us about $31.9B so far.

      The problem is worse than Sara Cody.

      $31,9B is probably a good estimate of the damage to our local economy

      But the BIG problem is that NO ONE is accountable. According to our state and local government officials, it just happened — but it’s Trumps fault because he didn’t do enough, and tried to take power from the governors, but then let the governors make the calls for their states and didn’t give them ahy help, and refused to bail the states out because they have mammoth budget deficits. Oh, and Trump set a bad example by taking hydroxchloroquinone which hasn’t been approved by the medical experts and by encouraging people to ingest bleach, drano, and aquarium cleaners.

      Because no one is accountable, state and local government officials have no constraints and a free to try every stupid idie and pops into the small, dim brains, and then deny any blame or responsibility.

      “I didn’t know”.

      “The dog ate my homework”.

      “The devil made me do it”.

      • I’d like to believe we voters can change the situation. WI, OR, and NC courts have ruled their governments can’t have perpetual states of emergency as evidently CA’s constitution allows.

        SCC’s revised order issued yesterday is the first without *any* time limit. We can be in Stage 2 until hell freezes over based on the order that now mandates masks at businesses.

        The time is ripe for a ballot initiative to change matters here.

        Jennifer: would be nice to know what allows CA’s gestapo action so we know what to repeal or curtail.

        • > We can be in Stage 2 until hell freezes over based on the order that now mandates masks at businesses.

          It’s probably not too early to start planning for the bicentennial celebration of the emergency order requiring masks.

        • The story has a link to the order, which refers to “California Health and Safety Code § 120295, et seq.; Cal. Penal Code §§ 69, 148(a)(1); Santa Clara County Ordinance Code § A1-28.” Later it mentions California Health and Safety Code section 131080. Also it references Governor’s order(s), which also refer to California law, and prior orders, etc.

          I think PC 148(a)(1) is about resisting arrest, if you don’t like “rule of law”.

  5. Even though we don’t represent a large voting block, we elders still want to go to our libraries. I see the Governor is planning to open commercial bookstores, how about opening our free libraries?

    • Dave, Newsom’s declarations really don’t matter. Unelected public health officers in counties and municipal government (at least some – maybe limited to charter cities) can order *stricter* directives, but not more liberal ones. Examples include extending SIP, mandating face coverings, and deciding what constitutes an “essential business”.

      Our pot stores are open; sporting goods / gun stores are still prohibited from operating in Santa Clara County. Sorry – no curbside gun purchases here – you’ll need to drive to Dublin or further to enter a store.

      Interesting that SCC today declared we’re now in Stage 2 like 5 other bay area counties (we were the last holdout). Do note that just last week Cody claimed we would need to wait 14 days *after no increase* in fatalities.

      No complaints about changing one’s mind in light of new information. But that’s not the case here. Cody simply couldn’t justify her draconian position when other states and CA counties have suffered no adverse consequences after reopening.

      Meanwhile Cortese and Chavez want to give formally foster adults (ages 18-25) $1,000 / month for at least the next year while SCC will be freezing new hires (even replacements) and cutting budgets by at least 3% starting July 1.

    • DAVE this is not about the people. This is about the business and the money, those that contribute to te politicians.

  6. > Google County Relaxes Health Restrictions Enough to Allow Increased Adulation of Dave Cortese and Sarah Cody

    “I did a great job”, said Cortese, “and I think Sarah will agree”.

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