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Public Health Orders

Last content update:  5/22/2020

UPDATE: The County Shelter-in-Place Order remains in effect, and all persons and businesses in Santa Clara County must comply with the County Order. While the State announced on May 7, 2020 that it is relaxing certain state restrictions, you must comply with the stricter of the two orders.

Read the full Shelter in Place Order, effective May 22, 2020

This information is provided to clarify prohibited and allowable activities while the Shelter in Place Order is in effect. Please remember when reading this information and deciding whether to submit a question that the goal of the Order is to maximize the number of people who are staying home. The Order’s exemptions for allowable activities are intended to be narrow. Please limit physical interactions and stay home as much as possible to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

 

 

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Executive Summary

Because of the substantial progress our community has achieved in slowing the spread of COVID-19, this updated Shelter-in-Place Order allows certain additional businesses and activities to resume, subject to restrictions to reduce transmission risk. The Order also makes important changes to the Social Distancing Protocol requirements for all operating businesses. 

This new Order will go into effect at 12:01 am on Friday, May 22, 2020, and will remain in effect until the Health Officer amends or rescinds it.  This new Order replaces the prior order, which went into effect on May 4, 2020. We refer to the May 4 order as the “Prior Order” and this new Order as the “May 22nd Order” or “Order.” 

What changes does this new Order make? 

The May 22 Order allows several new categories of businesses and activities to reopen, subject to specific conditions and limitations. It also keeps key restrictions in place, requiring people to stay in their homes except when engaging in certain essential or allowed activities.  The activities and businesses allowed to reopen under the new order are referred to as “Additional Activities” and “Additional Businesses” and are explained in Appendices C-1 and C-2 to the Order. These and other significant changes are highlighted below. 

Additional Businesses:  

  • Retail stores may reopen for sales, but only for curbside/outside pickup or by delivery. Customers are not allowed to enter these retail stores. These retail stores must also comply with several additional operating conditions, including: 
    • They cannot move goods outside the store to display and sell. 
    • They must limit the number of workers inside the facility as described in the Order. 
    • They must have direct access to a sidewalk, street, outdoor walkway, parking lot, or alley for pickup. 
  • The Order also allows businesses that support these retail businesses to resume operating, including those that manufacture goods sold at these stores and businesses that provide warehousing and distribution services. 
  • Outdoor museums, historical sites, and publicly accessible gardens are allowed to reopen, but visitors are restricted to outdoor areas. 

Additional Activities:   

  • The May 22nd Order allows people to participate in car parades, so long as they ride in cars only with members of their households and do not leave the cars during the parade or stop to gather at a fixed location.  Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed to join car parades. 

Social Distancing Protocol:

  • The May 22nd Order updates the Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A to the Order) to incorporate new State of California requirements for training personnel and other measures.
  • To operate, all businesses must complete a Social Distancing Protocol using the new template or update their Protocols to incorporate the new requirements. A copy of the Protocol must be distributed to all employees.
  • To show that they are implementing the Social Distancing Protocol to keep their staff and customers safe from COVID-19, all businesses must print and post in a prominent place near the entrance to the businesses (1) a COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet. Both the Sign and Visitor Information Sheet can be found in Appendix A to the Order.
  • All businesses must post signage required in the Social Distancing Protocol to educate customers about health and safety requirements. Sign templates are available on the County’s website​.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

* Revised    ** New

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Shelter in Place Explained

** What does the May 22 Order do?

This new Order replaces the May 4 Shelter-in-Place Order as of 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020. This updated Order requires that people continue sheltering in their homes, but allows some additional businesses to open that could not operate under the May 4 Order, and some additional low-risk activities to resume. 

The May 22 Order does not impose new prohibitions on activities – in other words, you can still do everything you could do under the prior Order.  The Order eases some restrictions.  For instance, the Order allows some “additional businesses” (identified in Appendix C-1 of the Order) to open with limitations, and it allows people to do some “additional activities” (identified in Appendix C-2 of the Order) with limitations.  Additional businesses that can now open include all retail stores (for curbside or outside pickup only), as well as businesses that supply or support those retail stores, including manufacturing and logistics.  These businesses must limit the number of personnel onsite based on the size of the facility to one worker per 300 gross square feet.  Outdoor museums, historical sites, and gardens can also now open, so long as the public is restricted to outdoor areas other than to use restrooms.  Car parades are now allowed under the new Order as an “additional activity.” 

The May 22 Order also makes significant changes to the Social Distancing Protocol (Appendix A to the Order). This protocol is a critical tool to protect workers and the public from risk of COVID-19 when they are working at or visiting a business, and to allow us to continue progress in protecting the community from COVID-19.  

All businesses operating a facility in any capacity in the County are required to prepare and implement an updated protocol by May 22.  Businesses must give copies of their updated protocols to all personnel working in the facility covered by the protocol. Businesses must also post an official COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet (included in Appendix A of the Order) at all entrances to their facilities so that they are easily visible to the public (such as in a window), along with signage instructing visitors on social distancing, face covering, and hygiene requirements (you can find a template here). These signs show the public that businesses are following the requirements to keep visitors and workers safe, and they show visitors what they need to do to prevent spread of COVID-19.

** When does this Order take effect? When does it end?

As of 12:01 a.m. on May 22, 2020, everyone in the County must strictly follow this new Order. The new Order will stay in effect until it is modified or rescinded by the Health Officer. 

** Why aren’t more businesses allowed to open?

Thanks to the collective effort and sacrifice of the 7 million residents across the Bay Area, we have made progress in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus, ensuring our hospitals are not overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and saving lives. This progress allows us to ease some restrictions to allow some additional low-risk businesses to reopen, so long as they strictly comply with social distancing requirements and other protections in the Order. 

However, at this stage of the pandemic, we need to maintain many of the restrictions of shelter-in-place so that we do not lose the progress we have achieved. Lifting too many restrictions too soon could easily lead to a large surge in cases and result in avoidable hospitalizations and deaths, and it may also lead to longer-term economic harms.

Is this mandatory or is it just guidance?

It is mandatory. This Order is a legal Order issued under the authority of California law. You are required to comply, and it is a crime (a misdemeanor) not to follow the Order.

My work is allowed under the new Order. Do I need to have a letter from my employer or other documentation to travel? 

No. You do not need to carry official documentation (and the County does not issue any) demonstrating that you are exempt under the new Order. But be prepared to explain if requested by law enforcement why your travel is allowable under the Order.

What does it mean to “shelter in place?”

The term “shelter in place” means to stay in your home and not leave except for one of the exceptions listed in the Order (discussed more below).

I heard that there is a statewide shelter-in-place order. Do I still need to comply with Santa Clara County’s Order?

Yes. In addition to the statewide order, the County Health Officer’s Order remains in effect. All residents must comply with the restrictions in both the County and State Orders. If the restrictions in the two orders are different, you must comply with the stricter of the two orders.

* The Santa Clara County May 22 Order references the State Shelter Order. Where can I find that Order? 

The State Shelter Order and related FAQs are available here. You can also find information on the State’s Resilience Roadmap for modifying the statewide order here.

* What is the difference between “sheltering in place” and “social distancing”?

Sheltering in place is a more rigorous form of social distancing. 

Sheltering in place means you: 

  • Must stay at home 
  • Can only leave your home for specifically authorized activities (see the Order and these FAQs for details) 
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings 

In addition, you must also follow certain social distancing and hygiene requirements to keep yourself and others safe when you’re out of your home: 

  • Maintain at least 6 feet of separation from other people who are not in your household. 
  • Wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or use hand sanitizer). 
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve (not into your hands). 
  • Wear a face covering when out in public, as recommended in the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings. Face coverings are required when you’re riding public transit or visiting a business. The only exceptions are for children 6 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance.  
  • Stay home if you are sick. 

 

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Daily Activities

* Am I required to wear a face covering when I’m out in public? 

Under the May 22 Order, you are required to wear a face covering whenever you are at a business (even if it’s an outdoor business), including as an employee or a customer. Businesses must post signs directing you to wear a face covering when you are at their facilities. You are also required to wear face coverings while riding on public transit. At all other times when you are out in public, you are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in accordance with the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Face Coverings. The only exceptions are for people for whom a face covering may not be safe (for example, children 6 and under, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance). You do not need to wear a face covering when you are exercising outdoors, but you are encouraged to have one with you. 

Please remember that cloth face coverings must be combined with maintaining all other social distancing measures. Wearing a face covering does not mean that people can come in closer contact with each other; while face coverings can help reduce the spread of the virus, they do not completely stop it. 

** The Order requires that people wear face coverings at all times when at businesses or on public transportation.  Does this mean that I cannot eat or drink?  What if I have shortness of breath?

The requirement that you wear face coverings when at businesses or on public transportation does not prohibit you from removing your mask to address basic biological necessities.  For example, you may remove your mask to eat or drink or if you are suddenly short of breath and feel a need for more air.  You should replace your mask as soon as possible. You should wash your hands or use hand sanitizer both before and after handling your face covering.

** Are customers required to wear face coverings for curbside pickup?

Yes. The Order requires all people (except for children under the age of six, and people who have trouble breathing or are unable to remove a face covering without assistance) to wear face coverings at all times when at a business. If you are going to a business for curbside pickup, you are at the business and must wear a face covering during your interaction with the staff. If you do not leave your vehicle for the curbside pickup (if items are delivered to you through your car window, for example), you and everyone else in the car should wear a face covering if safe to do so. ​

Can I leave home to visit friends or family members in another household or living unit if there is no urgent need or I am not performing an essential activity?

No. For your safety as well as their safety, you are not allowed to visit friends or family members outside your own household. We need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home.

** Can I organize or participate in a car caravan or car parade so long as people stay in their cars?

Yes.  Under the May 22 Order, car parades are allowable.  People can now hold car parades, provided that only members of the same household ride in a single car, people do not leave their cars at any time during the parade, and participating cars do not congregate together at any time.  Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed in car parades, and organized bicycle and motorcycle gatherings are not allowed.

** During a car parade, am I allowed to hang my head or torso out of the car window or stand up in the moonroof?

No. Participants in a car parade must obey all applicable laws and provisions of the Vehicle Code.

** What am I allowed to do if a car parade is driving past my house? How can I participate as a spectator? 

If a car parade is passing by your home, you may watch and wave from a window, doorway, porch, or yard. If you live in a multi-unit housing complex, make sure to maintain a minimum six-foot distance from any other spectators who are not in your household unit if you watch from outside. Spectators should also remain at least six feet away from the cars in the parade at all times. Spectators who choose to leave their homes are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings while watching the parade.

* Can common recreational spaces in multi-unit housing communities such as apartment and condo buildings (like gyms and roof decks) stay open? 

No. For apartment/condo dwellers and residents of other multi-unit housing complexes, the Order’s shelter-in-place requirements for the “household or living unit” means their own apartment unit or room, not the building or complex as a whole. Common recreational spaces shared with others in the building or complex, like gyms, pools, barbecue areas, and roof decks, must be closed like any other public recreational space that contains high-touch equipment or encourages gathering.

* What about common areas in multi-unit housing communities such as apartment and condo buildings, like shared laundry rooms, that residents need to access for sanitation needs? 

People who live in multi-unit housing communities should be allowed to access facilities that are required for their cleaning and sanitation needs. Building owners must do more cleaning of high-touch surfaces in these areas, and residents must observe all social distancing requirements in the Order, including: maintaining at least 6 feet of separation from other people who are not part of their own household; washing their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds each time (or using hand sanitizer); coughing or sneezing into a tissue or sleeve (not their hands); wearing a face covering when out in public, as recommended in the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Face Coverings, except if a face covering is not recommended (e.g., for children 6 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding using the shared facility if they are sick. 

Can I still get my mail and deliveries?

Yes. Mail and delivery services may continue to operate under the Order.

Can I still order the things I need online from businesses and have them delivered to my home?

Yes. The Order allows you to go online, purchase items, and have them delivered to your home.

Can I go out to do laundry or to have my laundry done?

Yes.

Should I stock up on necessities like food, toilet paper, and medicines? 

No. You will continue to be able to buy these items. Stores selling necessary items like grocery stores, pharmacies, and hardware stores will stay open. Please continue to buy normal quantities of these items on the same schedule you normally follow. This will ensure that there is enough for everyone. You can also have necessities delivered to you at home.

What if I can’t get out of the home? How can I get supplies and food?

Please contact friends, family, or others you know who can provide support. They are allowed to pick up the items you need. You can also order food and other supplies and have them delivered to your home. If you think you might be eligible for Meals on Wheels, call 408-350-3246 to start the eligibility intake process.

Can I leave home to go to my church, synagogue, or mosque?

No. For your safety as well as the safety of your fellow worshippers, we need to help each other fight the spread of COVID-19 by staying at home. Places of worship may offer remote access to services, such as by email, video streaming, or teleconference.

** Are drive-in/drive-through religious services, or similar activities like drive-in movies, allowed? 

Drive-in services, drive-in entertainment, and other stationary car gatherings are not allowed at this time.  Car parades may take place, but participants may not congregate at a fixed location.  Avoiding all types of organized gatherings continues to be a critical public health measure.

Can I go to a bar, nightclub, or theater?

No. Entertainment venues are not allowed to operate.

Can I go to a restaurant, café, coffee or tea shop, ice cream shop, or other foodservice location?

Yes, but only to pick up food. You cannot dine, eat, or drink in or around the facility. These facilities can also deliver.

Can I walk my dog or use a dog park? 

Yes, you can walk your dog, but you cannot use dog parks. Dog parks are areas that encourage people and pets to gather together, and are required to close.  When walking your dog, be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household. Also note that the CDC has released guidance advising that you should treat pets as you would your human family members – do not let pets interact with people or animals outside the household. If a person inside your household becomes sick, isolate that person from everyone else, including pets. 

Can I go to a vet or pet hospital if my pet is sick?

Yes. Please call first to determine if the vet has any restrictions in place.

** Can I take my dog to a groomer?

Yes, if it is medically necessary.  Veterinary clinics and similar animal healthcare facilities may provide grooming services, and you may use these services as necessary to maintain the health of your animals.  Other groomers—including grooming shops and mobile groomers—may also provide pet grooming services to animals if a veterinarian recommends that the animals obtain grooming services for health reasons.  Pet grooming services—whether for medical reasons or not—may be offered in a customer’s home as home-based pet care. 

I don’t cook—how can I purchase meals?

Restaurants, cafes, food trucks, and similar establishments are encouraged to remain open to supply meals to the public via delivery and carryout. You can also purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers.

How can I access free or reduced-price meals for myself or my family?

Schools, soup kitchens, food banks, and other entities that provide free or reduced priced food or meals to the public are encouraged to continue providing these services. You must pick up and take away the food or have it brought to you. Do not eat on the premises.

Can I carry out a court-ordered visit with my kids?

Yes. The Order exempts travel by court order or law enforcement.

** Can I still access necessary items in my self-storage unit? 

Self-storage facilities are not essential businesses, but they can maintain minimum basic operations and allow people to access the items in their existing storage units.

I need to take out a loan or send cash – what kinds of financial institutions are allowed to be open? 

In addition to banks and credit unions, you can go to money remittance services, financing services at pawn shops, check cashing services, money lenders, and similar financial institutions. For businesses that mix a financial service component with a retail component, only the financial service can be open for customers to enter.  If the business has direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, the business can also sell retail items to customers using curbside/outside pickup in compliance with the limitations in Appendix C-1 of the Order.  Customers may not enter the shop except to access its financing services. 

* How can I buy flowers? 

You can buy flowers inside an essential retail business (like a grocery store or Farmer’s Market) or an outdoor business (like a nursery or garden center). You can also order flowers from flower shops for direct delivery to a residence or business.  And, if a flower shop or wholesaler has direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, then you can buy flowers by curbside or outside pickup from that business, in compliance with the limitations in Appendix C-1.  

 

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Healthcare Operations

What should I do if I’m sick? If I or a family member need immediate medical attention, can I leave home to go to the doctor or hospital?

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. If you are having a medical emergency, please call 911 or go to your closest emergency room. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. You can and should seek medical advice if you or a family member is sick. If it is not an emergency, please contact your primary care provider to determine next steps. Also, you can check online resources to help you assess symptoms if you are worried about whether you or a loved one has COVID-19. You should check www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/ for more information.

Can I get my prescriptions or other healthcare needs? Can I leave home to go to the pharmacy to get my prescription filled?

Yes. Drug stores and other medical supply stores are allowed and encouraged to operate. When possible, you should have prescription medicines and healthcare supplies delivered to your home.

* I’m a medical provider – am I allowed to remain open for preventive and non-urgent care?

Yes, if you are a medical provider your office is encouraged to remain open. Under the Order, all medical services, including routine and preventive care, are considered essential. This includes, but is not limited to, mental health services, immunizations, well-woman exams, allergy shots, eye exams, physical therapy, and surgeries. Preventive and non-urgent care should generally not be deferred (please see the following FAQ regarding dental services). Many visits involve exams or procedures that must be done in person, but practitioners are encouraged to conduct appointments remotely via phone or telemedicine when it is appropriate and feasible to do so.

* I run a dental facility – should I continue to provide cleanings and non-urgent dental services to patients? 

Dentists should follow the CDC’s guidance on dental services. 

Can I continue to use reflexology, massage therapy, chiropractic, or similar services?

Yes, you may continue to use these services if your healthcare provider has determined that they are medically necessary for you.

Can I still go to my mental health appointments?

Yes, mental health appointments can continue. Patients should consult with their practitioners to determine whether it is appropriate and feasible to conduct individual mental health appointments remotely.

Can I still go to my substance abuse treatment groups (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous) or other group counseling sessions?

All participants in group counseling services must attend meetings remotely if they are equipped to do so. Groups should make accommodations for remote support to the maximum extent feasible. If remote participation is not feasible or advisable under the circumstances, participation may occur in person provided that there is compliance with the social distancing requirements set forth in the Order, including maintaining at least 6-foot distance between individuals and capping group size to reduce in-person interactions.

What mental health resources are available for people experiencing distress?

The following resources are available to help people who may be experiencing distress or heightened anxiety right now:

  • 24/7 Behavioral Health Services Department Call Center: (800) 704-0900
  • Crisis Text Line: Text RENEW to 741741
  • Suicide and Crisis Hotline 24/7: (855) 278-4204
  • Mobile Crisis Response Teams (MCRT)
    1. Adults-BHSD MCRT: 800-704-0900
    2. Children and Youth-Uplift Family Services Mobile Crisis Response: 408-379-9085
  • If you are experiencing an emergency please call 911 immediately.

The Behavioral Health Services Department is also collaborating with Bill Wilson Center's (BWC) Center for Living with Dying to form a Grief Response Team. This team will respond to those families and individuals who have lost a loved one to COVID-19. Licensed clinical volunteers and supervised interns from Center for Living with Dying and from BHSD are available to provide grief counseling to any community member within Santa Clara County.

The primary service provider for grief counseling will be the Center for Living with Dying:  408-243-0222. Grief counseling will be primarily available during regular business hours, M-F, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. After business hours and weekends provided as needed and requested.

Can and should I donate blood if I am healthy?

Yes, blood banks, blood donation centers, and blood drives are exempt healthcare operations. If you are healthy and do not have COVID-19 symptoms, you are encouraged to donate. The need for adequate blood donations from healthy people is critical.

Should cafeterias in hospitals be closed?

No. Hospital cafeterias fall within the exemption for healthcare facilities and may remain open. Hospital cafeterias must be structured to ensure six-foot minimum distancing between individuals not residing in the same household or living unit when they pick up food from or eat in the facility. Hospital cafeterias should increase cleaning and sanitization to minimize risk of exposure and follow other Social Distancing Requirements specified in the Order to the maximum extent feasible. Cafeterias in all other facilities must follow the requirements in the Order – specifically, food can be carried out or delivered, but cannot be eaten in the cafeteria. 

Will this order prevent companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19 from continuing to do that work?

No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including companies working on vaccines and testing for COVID-19.

I work in a hospital or medical clinic, but I’m not sure I’m essential. Should I continue to work? What if I’m over 50?

Yes. All employees of hospitals, clinics, and other organizations that provide healthcare, provide services to healthcare organizations, provide needed supplies to healthcare organizations, or otherwise maintain healthcare operations of all kinds may continue working.

The Health Order does not advise or encourage health care workers over 50 to stop reporting to work.

 

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Caretaking and Education

Can I visit loved ones in the hospital, nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or other residential care facility?

You may visit a hospital or other healthcare facility for the purpose of obtaining health care services and supplies. If you wish to visit a loved one in a hospital or healthcare facility, you will need to check with the hospital or healthcare facility to see whether non-essential visitations are allowed at that location. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or residential care facility other than for the purpose of securing care. People over 50 years of age are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.  ​

Can I leave home to care for my elderly parents or friends who require assistance to care for themselves? Or a friend or family member who has disabilities? 

Yes. Be extremely cautious when providing care to vulnerable people and ensure that you protect them and yourself by following social distancing guidelines such as washing hands before and after, using hand sanitizer, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance when possible, coughing or sneezing into a tissue, and wearing a face covering, as recommended in the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings​, except if a face covering is not recommended (e.g., for children 6 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance). Do not leave home to provide this care if you have COVID-19 symptoms. 

* What do I do about my kids? I have to work.

The Order allows childcare establishments, summer camps, and schools or recreational institutions to provide childcare or supervision to enable you to work for an essential business, outdoor business, or additional business (as defined in the Order and Appendix C-1), to perform minimum basic operations for your business, or to work as an essential governmental employee. If you fall into one of these groups of workers, you can use a childcare establishment to support you in working either from home or from a business or government facility. The Order also allows everyone to employ a nanny or babysitter to provide home-based care for your kids.

Does this Order require that schools shut down? 

This Order requires that schools generally stop holding classes at physical locations within the County. However, schools are encouraged to provide distance learning to their students and to provide free and reduced-price lunches for takeaway or by delivery. The Order also allows schools to provide care or supervision of children to enable personnel to work for an essential business, outdoor business, or additional business (as defined in the Order and Appendix C-1), to perform minimum basic operations for a business, or to work as an essential governmental employee provided that: (1) children are in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another; (3) multiple groups in a facility stay in separate rooms; and (4) providers or educators remain solely with one group. 

* What childcare facilities or programs are allowed to operate? 

Childcare establishments and other educational or recreational institutions or programs can operate to provide care or supervision for children of all ages to enable people to work for an essential business, outdoor business, or additional business (as defined in the Order and Appendix C-1), to perform minimum basic operations for a business, or to work as an essential governmental employee—whether those people are working from a business or government facility or from home (such as a doctor doing telemedicine from home). 

Childcare facilities must ensure that: (1) children are in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another; (3) multiple groups in a facility stay in separate rooms; and (4) providers or educators remain solely with one group.  

In addition to the conditions above, children may not move from one childcare or similar program or institution to another more frequently than once every 4 weeks. Thus, for instance, a child may attend at most one summer camp program every 4-week period. To the extent possible, children should only attend programs near their place of residence or their parent’s or caregiver’s workplace. 

Childcare establishments are also subject to the State’s Stay Home Order and its accompanying guidance. You can find information about the State’s requirements here​. The County Health Officer will assess whether to ease childcare restrictions further in coordination with the State and as the spread of COVID-19 is further contained. 

** Are organizations that provide supervision of children (like schools, daycares, recreational organizations, and summer camps) allowed to use playgrounds and swimming pools as part of their programs? 

Organizations that provide care or supervision of children (like schools, daycares, and summer camps) can use shared recreational facilities like playgrounds and swimming pools for their programs, but they must ensure no other groups or individuals are using the same facility at the same time.  In other words, a pool or playground must either be part of the organization’s own facility and access must be restricted only to children in that organization’s programs, or, if the pool or playground is located on a different site, the organization can reserve it for exclusive use by children in its programs during the time of day when the camp or program is in session. For example, a swim camp that meets at a community pool every morning for 4 weeks can use the pool so long as the pool is reserved exclusively for the camp on those mornings.  In addition, the Order’s restrictions for childcare programs in section 15.f.xxvi must be applied to use of these facilities, meaning they may only be used by a stable group of 12 or fewer children at any time and there can be no mixing between groups of children while using these facilities. 

Can childcare programs with required parental participation resume – like a parent-toddler music class or parent-toddler soccer program? 

No. Programs for children are allowed under the Order only if they provide care or supervision for children to enable the child’s parent or caregiver to work. This means that you cannot gather for enrichment programs with mandatory parental or caregiver participation, like a parent-toddler music or art class or parent-child sports program. Many enrichment programs for children are occurring remotely, and we encourage them to continuing doing so to create lively and enriching virtual experiences for children. 

I am a nanny. Will I get in trouble if I go to work? 

No, you won’t get in trouble if you go to work. The Order allows nannies and childcare providers caring for a child in the child’s own home to continue working. 

Can I organize or attend a playgroup with my small child? 

No. Gatherings with people outside your household are still prohibited, even in small groups and even with social distancing. 

 

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Guidance for Graduation/Recognition of Graduates

**How can schools recognize graduates and distribute diplomas/certificates? 

Read the joint guidance from the County Public Health Department and the Santa Clara County Office of Education for Spring 2020 school graduation recognition during Shelter in Place. 

We recognize the need for people to connect and celebrate, during this time of graduation; however, gatherings are a major contributor to the spread of infectious diseases. We strongly encourage organizers to consider “virtual” graduations that can be held online. The Alameda County Office of Education has published Guidelines for Virtual Graduations here that may be helpful.   

You may also choose to celebrate your graduate with a car parade, which is now allowed.  Car parades must comply with all laws and permitting requirements.  Only members of the same household may ride in the same car, and participants may not leave their cars or congregate at a fixed location.   

Additionally, the County’s joint guidance provides guidelines for graduates to pick up their diplomas or certificates and be recognized for their achievement in a manner that is allowed under the County’s Shelter in Place Order. 

 

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Businesses

* Will all business offices and stores be required to close?

No. “Essential businesses,” “outdoor businesses,” and “additional businesses” as defined in the Order can be open, with limitations specified in the Order and Appendices. Employees can leave home to go to these jobs. But these businesses are required to maximize the number of employees working from home and bring in only employees who can’t carry out their job duties from home.  Businesses that are not “essential businesses,” “outdoor businesses,” or “additional businesses” cannot carry out business at their facilities in the County, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, ensuring that employees are able to work remotely, or providing for the delivery of existing inventory to customers’ residences or businesses.

* What are “Essential Businesses”?

The following excerpt from the Order lists the “Essential Businesses”:

  1. Healthcare Operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure;
  2. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences. The businesses included in this subparagraph (ii) include establishments that sell multiple categories of products provided that they sell a significant amount of essential products identified in this subparagraph, such as liquor stores that also sell a significant amount of food.
  3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  4. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  5. Construction, but only as permitted under the State Shelter Order and only pursuant to the Construction Project Safety Protocols and incorporated into the Order by reference. Public works projects shall also be subject to the Construction Project Safety Protocols, except if other protocols are specified by the Health Officer;
  6. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  7. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair (including, but not limited to, for cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorized scooters), and automotive dealerships, but only for the purpose of providing auto-supply and auto-repair services. This subparagraph (vii) does not restrict the on-line purchase of automobiles if they are delivered to a residence or Essential Business;
  8. Bicycle repair and supply shops;
  9. Banks and related financial institutions;
  10. Service providers that enable real estate transactions (including rentals, leases, and home sales), including, but not limited to, real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies, provided that appointments and other residential viewings must only occur virtually or, if a virtual viewing is not feasible, by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time residing within the same household or living unit and one individual showing the unit (except that in person visits are not allowed when the occupant is present in the residence);
  11. Hardware stores;
  12. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and/or operation of residences and Essential Businesses;
  13. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  14. Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, or as allowed under subparagraph xxvi, provided that social distancing of six feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  15. Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
  16. Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or carry out. Schools and other entities that typically provide free food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so under this Order on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take-away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided, or at any other gathering site;
  17. Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains;
  18. Businesses that supply other Essential Businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate, but only to the extent that they support or supply these Essential Businesses. This exemption shall not be used as a basis for engaging in sales to the general public from retail storefronts;
  19. Businesses that have the primary function of shipping or delivering groceries, food, or other goods directly to residences or businesses. This exemption shall not be used to allow for manufacturing or assembly of non-essential products or for other functions besides those necessary to the delivery operation;
  20. Airlines, taxis, rental car companies, rideshare services (including shared bicycles and scooters), and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for Essential Activities and other purposes expressly authorized in this Order;
  21. Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and pets;
  22. Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  23. Professional services, such as legal, notary, or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with non-elective, legally required activities or in relation to death or incapacity;
  24. Services to assist individuals in finding employment with Essential Businesses;
  25. Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed under this Order; and
  26. Childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs providing care or supervision for children of all ages that enable owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, Outdoor Businesses, Additional Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations to work as allowed under this Order. To the extent possible, these operations must comply with the following conditions: 
    1. They must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer children (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
    2. Children shall not change from one group to another.
    3. If more than one group of children is at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
    4. Providers or educators shall remain solely with one group of children.
    The Health Officer will carefully monitor the changing public health situation as well as any changes to the State Shelter Order. In the event that the State relaxes restrictions on childcare and related institutions and programs, the Health Officer will consider whether to similarly relax the restrictions imposed by this Order.

** Do workers need to comply with social distancing requirements in the Order while doing their jobs? 

Yes. Except in moments when closer contact is necessary to perform a specific job duty, all workers must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including: 

  1. Maintaining a distance of six feet from others.  
  2. Frequently washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer.  
  3. Covering coughs and sneezes.  
  4. Wearing a face covering at all times when at the business facility, unless a face covering is not necessarily recommended (e.g., anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance or if a face covering is not medically advisable or would create a safety hazard at work under established health and safety guidelines). See the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings​ for more details.  
  5. Avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms​

Workers must also comply with all other health and safety measures included in the Social Distancing Protocol for the facility where they work. 


* What does Minimum Basic Operations mean?  

Businesses that are not essential businesses, outdoor businesses, or additional businesses as those terms are defined in the Order must scale down their one-site operations to “Minimum Basic Operations.” “Minimum Basic Operations” is defined in the following excerpt from section 15.g of the Order: 

  • The minimum necessary activities to maintain and protect the value of the business’s inventory and facilities; ensure security, safety, and sanitation; process payroll and employee benefits; provide for the delivery of existing inventory directly to residences or businesses; and related functions. For clarity, this section does not permit businesses to provide curbside pickup to customers. 
  • The minimum necessary activities to facilitate owners, employees, and contractors of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences, and to ensure that the business can deliver its service remotely. 

Other than to maintain minimum basic operations, your employees can only work remotely from their residences. Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements. In addition, businesses must create a Social Distancing Protocol for all facilities in the County visited by workers or the public, even if only Minimum Basic Operations are being performed there.

* My local law enforcement agency told me that I could not operate my business facility under a prior shelter-in-place order.  I believe that I am allowed to operate under the May 22 Order.  Do I need the County's permission to re-open my business?  

No.  If your business qualifies as an additional business listed in Appendix C-1 of the May 22 Order, you can reopen if you comply with all the listed requirements (such as limiting retail operations to curbside/outside pickup only and limiting workers in the facility to 1 person per 300 gross square feet). Before you open, you must also complete a Social Distancing Protocol for your facility, post the COVID-19 Prepared Sign and Visitor Information Sheet at public entrances, and give a copy of the protocol to all employees.  

It is each business's responsibility to comply with the Order (and any other applicable laws).  The County does not provide any form of written authorization for businesses to re-open, and businesses do not need a letter or approval from the County to do so.  Any decision by businesses to re-open in violation of the Order or other laws is subject to enforcement.   ​​ 

* I work for Apple, Google, or another large technology company that provides products and services that the public needs to access critical services. Is my company being completely shut down? 

No. But all employees who can work from home must do so. The only employees of these companies who can go to work are those who cannot perform their job duties from home and: (1) must work onsite to operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure (i.e., essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services for the community); (2) perform manufacturing or logistics services to support or supply the additional businesses that the May 22 Order allows to reopen (in compliance with the Order’s restrictions on the number of people allowed in the facility); or (3) are needed to maintain the minimum basic operations described in the Order for components of the company that are not allowed to resume operations.  Otherwise, there is no broad exemption for tech companies that allows them to stay open. 

Businesses are required to scale down their operations to these allowed components, in addition to maximizing the number of personnel who work from home across all their operations.  If only some job duties need to be performed onsite, employees should only report to the facility to perform those duties. 

** I run a large company that carries out some essential business functions.  Under the County’s Orders, can I bring my entire staff back to work on a rolling basis as long as I ensure they can carry out appropriate social distancing while they’re onsite at our facility? 

No.  Businesses that include an essential business component at their facilities alongside other components that are not allowed to resume operating must scale down their operations to the essential component only.  Only those employees performing essential functions or minimum basic operations would be allowed to work onsite at these businesses.  In addition, even for personnel working on the essential components of your business, you are required to maximize remote work, and can bring in personnel to perform essential functions only if, and at times when, it is not possible for them to perform their job duties from home.

** Essential employees at my company conduct virtual meetings with remote employees from our business facility in the County. Do all participants need to wear face coverings while presenting? 

Generally yes. Workers at businesses should wear face coverings even when speaking or presenting to others—in fact, speaking is one of the key times when people spread respiratory droplets. People speaking or presenting can remove their face covering if they are alone in a room speaking to others via telephone or videoconference, or if needed for disability accommodation to allow others to understand the presentation. Otherwise, face coverings should stay on even though it may feel inconvenient to speak through one.

Does the Order require that businesses stop work that is necessary to our healthcare system? 

No. The Order exempts any business that is performing work related to the delivery of health care, including hospitals, clinics, COVID-19 testing locations, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.  

* Can my company tend to its labs under this Order? 

It depends. Your lab may operate only if it performs work that is exempted in the Order. Otherwise, you and your employees are allowed to perform only minimum basic operations onsite at your workplace.  

* Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?

Yes, if they are an essential business or outdoor business, as described in the Order, an additional business listed in Appendix C1 that is allowed to open with limitations, or if they contract with a governmental entity and provide an essential governmental function. Non-profits that are allowed to continue operating include, for instance, food pantries, organizations providing housing for homeless residents, organizations providing other critical services, or nonprofit non-essential retail stores for curbside/outside pickup or delivery. Other non-profit organizations cannot continue operating their facilities, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the site safe and secure, providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely. All employees may also work remotely from their residences. 

The Order states that convenience stores, liquor stores, and other similar types of establishments can stay open if a “significant” portion of the inventory they offer to the public consists of food, hygienic products, or household products necessary for the sanitation, habitability, and operation of a residence. What is a “significant” portion? 

These storefronts may stay open if at least 25% of the total floor area used regularly for product sales is currently being used for food, hygienic products, and/or household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences.

** What are the new rules for retail stores? 

Any retail store that was previously allowed to be open for in-person shopping by customers can stay open. This includes: 

  • Retail stores that fall under section 15.f.ii of the Order (stores that sell food, hygienic items, and certain household consumer products), if at least 25% of the total floor area the store regularly uses for product sales is currently occupied by the products identified in section 15.f.ii.  This includes, for example, “big box” stores and liquor stores that sell significant amounts of essential products like food and personal hygiene items, alongside other items. 
  • Retail stores that fall under another category of essential business in section 15.f of the Order, if more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales is currently occupied by products associated with that essential business category.  
  • Outdoor retail stores like nurseries, so long all businesses and transactions with the public occur outdoors. 

Other kinds of retail businesses are now allowed to reopen in a limited capacity.  These additional businesses can sell goods to customers only by curbside/outside pickup or delivery, ideally after customers preorder the items on the internet or by phone.  Customers are not allowed to enter the store. And the stores must restrict the number of workers inside at any time to no more than 1 worker per 300 square feet. Please see Appendix C-1 for more information. 

* What should I do if my employer makes me to go to work?

Many businesses are not allowed to operate under this Order. Essential businesses, as defined in the Order, are allowed (and encouraged) to continue operating. Outdoor businesses, as defined in the Order, are also allowed to operate.  And additional businesses like those listed in Appendix C-1 can also now be open for limited operations, including retail sales by curbside/outside pickup or delivery only.  If work outside your home is not allowed under the Order, then your employer cannot make you go except for limited minimum basic operations such as maintaining the value of inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, or ensuring that employees are able to work remotely. The Order does not prohibit anyone from working from home. Your employer can require you to work from home – and you can do that – if your job duties allow it. 

If you are concerned about your employer violating the Order, you can contact the County Office of Labor Standards Enforcement Advice Line at 866-870-7725. 

Can bike repair shops continue to operate? 

Yes, bike repair shops are an essential business (the same as auto repair shops) because they are necessary to facilitate essential travel. 

Can my company continue to provide janitorial services to businesses? 

Yes, janitorial services are allowed because they are necessary for health and sanitation. 

Can grocery stores, farmers markets, and other food retailers remain open?

Yes. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other food retail establishments selling foods items and non-alcoholic drinks are encouraged to stay open to provide food items and pet supplies to the public. Section 6 of the Order requires all businesses allowed to operate under the Order to follow any industry-specific requirements issued by the Health Officer related to COVID-19. The Health Officer’s requirements for essential retail and grocery stores, essential workers, and food facilities can be found here. When visiting these places, you must help the retailer maintain Social Distancing Requirements, including while you are shopping and standing in line.

* I operate a food facility—what practices should I follow to keep my patrons safe?

If you serve food, you must do so by takeaway or delivery only. You must also complete a Social Distancing Protocol using the new template or update your existing Protocol to incorporate the new requirements, distribute a copy to all employees, and print and post (1) a COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and (2) a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet at all entrances to your business.   

In addition, you should:

Implement the requirements and best practices in the Department of Environmental Health’s “COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities”:  Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities [PDF]

Read the Department of Environmental Health’s Letter advising on the effects of the Order and related directives for food facilities:  Notice for Food Facilities [PDF]

Visit the Department of Environment Health>Novel Coronavirus>Informational Links for COVID-19 for the latest practices.

Consult the Public Health Department’s website for additional up to date information.

What if I have a cafeteria at my worksite. Can it continue to operate to serve workers who are doing work exempted in the Order?

The cafeteria can operate like other food facilities. It can serve food to employees, so long as the employees take the food away and do not eat it in the cafeteria. The cafeteria must strictly follow the social distancing requirements in the Order.

I am in the business of manufacturing food that I supply to grocery stores and other food retailers. Am I required to shut down?

No. Businesses that supply food goods and prepared meals to grocery stores and other food retailers are essential and may continue operating, so long as they comply with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements in the Order.  They should also implement the requirements and best practices in the Department of Environmental Health’s “COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities.” 

**Are wineries allowed to open to the public?  

Wineries are allowed to operate in accordance with the rules applicable to outdoor businesses. This means that the public is allowed to visit but must be restricted to outdoor areas only (except to use restrooms, which must be frequently sanitized). On-site tastings and samplings are not allowed. If the business serves food, it may be provided on a takeaway basis only: dining on the premises is also not allowed. The winery must also strictly comply with the Order’s Social Distancing Protocol requirements.  

* Can warehouses and distribution centers stay open if they supply businesses that are allowed to stay open under the Order? 

Yes, to the extent they support or supply those businesses. Warehouses and distribution centers must minimize the number of employees onsite and comply with all social distancing requirements in the Order.  Under the May 22 Order, warehouses and distribution centers that support and supply retail stores that are allowed to open for curbside delivery must comply with the requirements in Appendix C-1, including that they restrict the total number of personnel in their facilities at any time to 1 worker per 300 gross square feet of facility.  

What if I want to go to work at my office in the County and I’m not sick? 

Unless your work is exempted in the Order, you cannot go to work even if you want to. You can work from home for any business if your employer allows it and your work can be done from home. 

I operate a business that is required to close its facilities in the County—can my business deliver things to people’s homes? 

Yes, businesses that are not allowed to open a facility in the County may maintain minimum basic operations. This includes making deliveries of existing inventory to people’s homes. 

My business provides critical services and products for the federal government that we are required to provide on a time-certain basis—can we continue to manufacture these products or perform these services? 

Yes, employees and contractors of any governmental entity may continue to provide the services and products if the governmental entity determines that they are necessary to carry out an essential governmental function. 

Can gardening and landscaping services continue? 

Yes. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals can operate as outdoor businesses, as that term is defined in the Order, so long as they strictly comply with social distancing requirements. 

Can home service workers continue to provide their services? 

Yes.  Home service workers can keep providing services in homes if they are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home. This includes plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home. Home construction and repair work is also allowed, as is home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets. 

What if I have a service or equipment emergency at my home, such as with plumbing or electricity? 

Service providers like plumbers, electricians, and exterminators can keep working and providing services to the public that are necessary to maintain a livable, sanitary, and functional household. You can call your building manager or one of these service providers, or you can also visit your hardware store to assist with making your own repairs. 

Can my pool maintenance company come to my house or business? 

Yes, so long as the service is necessary to maintain safety and sanitation. Allowable operations include routine maintenance work like cleaning, chemical balancing and adjustments, and filtration (necessary to, for instance, prevent pool algae from blooming) and safety-oriented repairs. 

Can real estate agents show residences or commercial properties in person? 

Generally, no. Real estate agents, escrow agents, and other service providers that facilitate real estate transactions like home sales, apartment rentals, and sale of commercial properties are essential workers, but all appointments and viewings must happen virtually (via video or livestream). If a virtual viewing is not possible, then a single photographer or videographer is permitted to visit the property once to take photographs and/or video. This should be done at a time when the occupant is not present in the residence. Only if these options are not possible, then in-person showings can occur by appointment with no more than two visitors at a time from the same household, and only one agent showing the property. In-person showings or walk-throughs of residences are not allowed when there are occupants present in the residence. Commercial viewings should be limited to the minimum number of persons possible. 

Can notaries public continue to operate? 

Yes. 

Can title insurance companies continue to operate? 

Yes. 

* Are cannabis dispensaries and growers allowed to operate? 

Medical dispensaries can dispense under healthcare industry exemptions. Suppliers to medical dispensaries and licensed medical growers can operate as well. Non-medical cannabis dispensaries may operate for curbside/outdoor pickup, provided they have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, and comply with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.  Businesses that provide warehousing, delivery, distribution, and other logistical services to support these dispensaries may also operate subject to the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1.     

** Can recreational cannabis be purchased by curbside or outside pickup? 

Yes.  Non-medical cannabis dispensaries may operate for curbside/outdoor pickup, provided they have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, and comply with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.  Businesses that provide warehousing, delivery, distribution, and other logistical services to support these dispensaries may also operate subject to the limitations in Appendix C-1.

What is an outdoor business? What requirements apply to them? 

An outdoor business is a business that was primarily operating outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. For retail businesses, this means that more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales was outdoors prior to March 16, 2020. The Order provides some examples of common outdoor businesses, such as plant nurseries, agricultural operations, and landscaping and gardening services. Outdoor businesses, including outdoor retail businesses, must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public in outdoor spaces. This means that if an outdoor business includes an indoor facility or indoor portion of its retail space that typically serves the public, that indoor facility or indoor portion of retail space must be closed to the public and all sales must take place outdoors. Employees may continue to use the indoor space as necessary and may bring products outdoors for the public. Like all businesses, outdoor businesses must comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements and post a social distancing protocol

* Can outdoor amusement parks, concert venues, drive-in theaters, or amusement parks reopen? 

No. These outdoor businesses promote gatherings and prolonged interactions between groups of people, and/or include lots of high-touch equipment, facilities, or games. They are not allowed to reopen at this time. 

* Are auto dealerships allowed to serve customers from their facilities if they are Outdoor Businesses? 

Yes, auto dealerships that qualify as “outdoor businesses” under the Order may serve retail customers from the outdoor portions of their facilities. (All auto dealerships may provide supply and repair services). 

** Can auto dealerships that are not “outdoor businesses” sell cars?   

Yes, auto dealerships that are not outdoor businesses can sell cars online and deliver them to people’s homes.  Provided they have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, they can also operate in compliance with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.

** Can gun shops make sales from their storefronts under the Order? 

Yes, provided they have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, the Order allows gun shops to operate on a curbside/outside pickup basis in compliance with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.  Customers are not allowed to enter the store.  Gun shops must comply with all federal, state, and local laws governing the sale of firearms and ammunition.   

I work in a cemetery—can I go to work? 

Yes, cemeteries are essential infrastructure. 

Are funeral home providers and mortuaries allowed to continue operating? 

Yes, funeral home providers and mortuaries may continue operating to the extent necessary to the transport, preparation, or processing of remains. This means that any employee necessary for the transport, preparation and/or processing of a body may continue to report to these facilities to conduct their work. 

** Can my business keep manufacturing and selling beauty products? 

Yes, to the extent you supply a retail store that is now allowed to open in a limited capacity for sales by curbside/outdoor pickup or delivery, you may open subject to the limitations and conditions in Appendix C1.   

My business manufactures, supplies, or repairs cell phones. Can it stay open? 

Yes. If your business is primarily engaged in supply or repair of cell phones or other telecommunications devices, then it is essential and may continue to operate under the Order for that purpose. 

Can plant nurseries stay open? 

Yes, plant nurseries that qualify as outdoor businesses under the Order may open. An outdoor business is a business that was primarily operating outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. For retail businesses, this means that more than 50% of the total floor area regularly used for product sales was outdoors prior to March 16, 2020. Outdoor businesses, including plant nurseries, must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. This means that if a nursery includes an indoor facility or indoor portion of its retail space that typically serves the public, that indoor facility or indoor portion of retail space must be closed to the public, although employees may bring products outdoors.  

Plant nurseries that do not qualify as outdoor businesses are allowed to open their facilities for curbside/outside pickup, provided they have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, and operate in compliance with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.   

Are car washes allowed to continue operating under the Order?  What if they are no-touch car washes? 

Yes, car washes that qualify as outdoor businesses under the Order may open. An outdoor business is a business that operated primarily outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. Outdoor businesses must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. This means that if a car wash includes an indoor facility that typically serves the public, that indoor facility must be closed to the public. 

* Can my flower shop reopen? 

Yes, provided the flower shop has direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area, it can operate in compliance with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order.  Customers are not allowed to enter the store.  Flower wholesalers can also operate to deliver flowers to retail shops, or for curbside/outside pickup under Appendix C-1

I'm a photographer.  Can I hold outdoor photography sessions with clients? 

Yes, but only if your photography business qualifies as an outdoor business under the Order.  An outdoor business is a business that was primarily operating outdoors prior to March 16, 2020, and that has the ability to fully maintain social distancing of at least six feet between all persons. Outdoor businesses must conduct all business and transactions involving customers in outdoor spaces. If your photography business was primarily operating outdoors before March 16, then you can reopen it as long as photo shoots are limited to members of the same household or living unit, you and your clients comply with the Order's social distancing requirements, and, if you are working from an outdoor facility, you prepare and follow the required social distancing protocol. But if your photography business primarily operated at an indoor studio prior to March 16, then you cannot reopen in order to hold outdoor sessions with clients (and also cannot open your indoor studio). 

** What additional businesses are allowed to resume operations on May 22? 

The May 22 Orders allows the following additional businesses to reopen if they comply with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1 of the Order to reduce risk of disease transmission: 

  1. Non-essential retail stores, including wholesale stores, can now make sales on a curbside/outside pickup basis only, provided they have direct access to a sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area for pickup. They can also continue delivering goods to customers. These stores are not allowed to move goods outside for display, and customers cannot enter the store for any reason. No more than one worker per 300 gross square feet of the facility may be inside the store at any time, unless all the workers are from the same household.  
  2. Businesses that manufacture goods sold at these non-essential retail stores can resume to the extent they support or supply the retail stores. Unless operating as an essential business or essential governmental function, there must be fewer than one worker per 300 gross square feet of the facility present at any time. 
  3. Businesses that provide warehousing, delivery, distribution, and other logistical services to support or supply these additional businesses may resume operating to the extent that they support or supply the retail stores. Unless operating as an essential business or essential governmental function, there must be fewer than one worker per 300 gross square feet of the facility present at any time. 
  4. Outdoor museums, outdoor historical sites, and publicly accessible gardens may reopen to the public. The public is not allowed to access any indoor facilities except to use restrooms, which must be frequently cleaned. These businesses must implement measures to ensure everyone maintains at least six feet of social distancing from everyone outside their household. 

Before they can reopen, these businesses must comply with the Order’s Social Distancing Protocol requirements, including:  

  1. Completing a Social Distancing Protocol for all of their facilities visited by staff or the public; 
  2. Providing all workers at the facility with a copy of the Protocol;  
  3. Implementing the provisions in the Protocol; 
  4. Posting a “COVID-19 PREPARED” Sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet at the facility entrances where they can be easily seen by visitors; and  
  5. Posting the signage for visitors required in the Protocol to inform visitors of social distancing, face covering, and hygiene requirements. Sign templates can be found here. 

**Curbside/Outside Retail and Associated Businesses 

**What does curbside/outside pickup mean? 

Curbside or outside pickup means that you pick up the items you bought while you stay outside. For instance, a worker could hand your items through an exterior window, a doorway, your car window, or at a small table set up in front of the facility. Customers are not allowed to enter the store for any reason.   

If they can, customers must order and pay for their products online or by phone before getting to the store. If pre-ordering is not possible, customers can make their purchase onsite as long as it takes place outside.  Customers are not allowed to enter the store for any reason. 

**Can stores inside malls set up outside locations for curbside/outside pickup? 

No.  The only retail stores allowed to reopen for curbside pickup under the May 22 Order are those that have direct access to an immediately adjacent sidewalk or outdoor pedestrian walkway, street, parking lot, or alley area for customers to pick up items.  Retail stores inside enclosed malls that do not have direct outdoor access cannot reopen at this time. 

**Can shops reopening for curbside/outside pickup move their goods outside for browsing? 

No.  Shops that reopen for curbside pickup under the May 22 Order are not allowed to move their goods outside for display.  But they can display goods in their windows, post and distribute catalogues of their merchandise, and display their products online. 

**How many workers are allowed to be inside a store doing curbside/outdoor pickup? 

Stores that reopen for curbside/outside pickup under the May 22 Order may have no more than 1 worker per 300 total square feet of the facility onsite at any time. For instance, if your shop is 1000 square feet in size total (including storage areas and all other parts of the facility), then you can have up to 3 workers on site at any time. This requirement does not apply if all workers in the store are from the same household. 

**Do I need to complete a Social Distancing Protocol for my shop even if I’m only opening it for curbside/outside pickup? 

Yes. Before they reopen, all business must prepare and implement a Social Distancing Protocol​ using the template in Appendix A to the Order. They must also distribute copies to their employees and post a COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet (included in Appendix A). Even if customers are not allowed to enter the shop, they must also post the signage required in the Order to inform visitors of social distancing, face covering, and hygiene requirements. You can find signs to print and post at your shop here. 

**What about wholesale businesses? Can they reopen? 

Yes.  Non-essential wholesale businesses may reopen for curbside/outside pickup under the May 22 Order, subject to the same limitations and conditions as other retail businesses. Like all businesses, they must comply with the Social Distancing Protocol​ requirements before resuming operations.   


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Construction and Essential Infrastructure

Are commercial and residential construction projects allowed?

The Order allows all construction projects that may proceed under the March 19, 2020 Order of the California State Public Health Officer (the “State Shelter Order”), as long as the projects comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols. Construction sites do not also need to post a Social Distancing Protocol.

I work for an essential infrastructure organization—can I leave home to go to work?

Yes, if the project you are working on is immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure. Essential Infrastructure means airports, utilities (including water, sewer, gas, and electrical), oil refining, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste facilities (including collection, removal, disposal, recycling, and processing facilities), cemeteries, mortuaries, crematoriums, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services).

What recycling businesses are allowed to operate under the Order?

All recycling facilities may operate, including but not limited to those providing for recycling of beverage containers, scrap metal, used oil, construction and demolition debris, and any other materials that can be, or are required to be, recycled by the State of California.

Can composting facilities operate?

Yes. Composting facilities may operate and composting activities may take place.

Can quarries continue to operate under the Order? 

Yes, provided they comply with the revised Social Distancing Protocol requirements in the Order. 

My business installs distributed solar, storage, and/or electric vehicle charging systems – can it continue to operate? 

Yes, this is permissible construction activity and must comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols. Businesses may also operate to manufacture distributed energy resource components, like solar panels. 

I have County Ordinance Code violations on my property and have been ordered by the County (or have agreed with the County) to correct the violation. Can the abatement work be done while the Shelter in Place Order is in effect? Will I be penalized if the work isn't done? 

Yes. This work must comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols or the Social Distancing Protocols in Appendix A, as applicable. 

Can I conduct site assessment, remediation, or mitigation work that I have been directed to perform by the County Department of Environmental Health under a remedial action agreement? 

Yes. This work must comply with the Construction Project Safety Protocols​ or the Social Distancing Protocols in Appendix A, as applicable. 

Does the Order allow for state-mandated testing, operator inspections, and repairs of underground storage tanks? 

Yes. State-mandated tests and operator inspections of underground storage tanks are essential activities and should continue under the Order. Repairs necessary to maintain the safety of underground storage tank systems and activities to respond to alarms and address unauthorized releases are also essential and should continue. All such work must be conducted in accordance with the Order, including adhering to social distancing requirements. 

Can the person who serves as the Safety Compliance Officer (SCO) also serve as the third-party jobsite safety accountability supervisor (JSAS) on large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol? 

No. The SCO and JSAS must be different people. There must be an SCO onsite at all times, and the SCO may be an employee of a company doing construction work at the jobsite. The JSAS must be an independent third-party contractor (not an employee of a company doing construction work at the jobsite), and does not need to be at the jobsite at all times. 

Who can serve as the third-party jobsite safety accountability supervisor (JSAS) on large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol?

A company must use an independent contractor as a JSAS. The JSAS cannot be an employee of any company that is engaged in construction activities at the jobsite.

Does the third-party jobsite safety accountability supervisor (JSAS) have to be on the jobsite at all times on large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol? How frequently must the JSAS visit the site?

The JSAS does not need to be at the jobsite at all times. The JSAS must visit the jobsite with sufficient frequency to adequately ensure compliance. The frequency of visits will vary depending on the size and complexity of the jobsite. For large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol, the frequency of JSAS visits must be documented in the Site-Specific Health & Safety Plan.

The Large Construction Project Safety Protocol makes reference to a “designated County Official” who will receive certain reports, plans, and forms identified in the protocol. Who is the designated County official?

The designated County official in the County of Santa Clara is Neville Pereira, Building Official with the County Department of Planning and Development. As of Wednesday, May 6, all reports specified in the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol should be sent to the following email address: constructiondocs@eoc.sccgov.org. Reports should also be sent to the local permitting agency.

What is necessary to comply with the requirements to stagger trade-specific work and shift schedules?

The requirements to stagger trade-specific work and work schedules are intended to minimize the number of workers at the jobsite at any one time. For smaller projects, the Small Construction Project Safety Protocol requires that construction sites stagger trades as necessary to reduce density and allow for minimum six-foot separation between all workers. For larger construction projects, the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol requires two kinds of staggering. First, to the extent feasible, construction sites should stagger stop and start times for shift schedules to reduce the number of workers at the jobsite at any one time. Second, construction sites should stagger trade-specific work to minimize the number of workers at the jobsite at any one time.

The staggering requirements do not prohibit combining trades on-site as the project necessitates. Rather, overlap between trades should be minimized as much as possible to reduce density of the worksite and maintain adequate social distancing.

For large construction projects subject to the Large Construction Project Safety Protocol, the plan for staggering of shifts and/or trades must be documented in the Site-Specific Health & Safety Plan.

The Construction Project Safety Protocols prohibit the use of medical-grade PPE on construction jobsites, except in very limited circumstances. What is medical-grade PPE? What if OSHA requires certain PPE?

Unless PPE is specifically designated or graded for medical use (e.g., surgical N95 respirator), the Construction Project Safety Protocols do not prohibit its use on the construction site. The Construction Project Safety Protocols require compliance with all OSHA standards, and should not be interpreted to prohibit use of the necessary PPE to comply with OSHA standards.

In the Construction Project Safety Protocols, construction contractors are prohibited from using medical-grade PPE unless required due to the medical nature of a job site. Can a contractor use medical-grade PPE if the PPE was procured prior to the Order? Can individuals use their own medical-grade PPE on the construction site?

No. Unless the construction site is medical in nature and requires medical-grade PPE for that reason, or if the medical-grade PPE is required by CalOSHA safety standards to perform the trade work, no medical-grade PPE can be used on the jobsite.

In the Construction Project Safety Protocols, construction projects are required to establish daily screening protocols. What do the daily health screening protocols have to include, and/or what should they include?

At a minimum, screening should include questions about whether the individual has a cough, fever, or any other COVID-19 symptoms.

The Construction Project Safety Protocols require the construction site to have a daily attendance log of all workers and visitors that includes contact information. Does the County have a required form to use for this daily attendance log?

No. As long as the information specified in the Construction Project Safety Protocols is collected, the attendance log is compliant.

 

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Government Operations

Do government agencies providing essential governmental functions need to complete and implement Social Distancing Protocols?

Governmental entities are strongly encouraged to complete Social Distancing Protocols for each of their facilities that remain open for any essential governmental functions, but the Order does not require them to do so. Just as with private businesses, Social Distancing Protocols assist governments in implementing risk reduction measures identified by the Health Officer, ensure that government agency staff and community members accessing government services are protected, and inform government employees and members of the public visiting the facilities about their respective responsibilities to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Each department or agency continuing to perform essential governmental functions at the workplace is encouraged to complete and implement a Social Distancing Protocol for its facilities, post the “COVID-19 PREPARED” sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information sheet at the entrance to each facility where it is  publicly visible, and distribute the protocol to its employees.

Is the local government shutting down?

No. Essential government functions will continue, including first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, and law enforcement. Other government functions or offices may be subject to reduced schedules or may be closed as part of the effort to fight the spread of COVID-19. Each government agency identifies the services that qualify as essential governmental functions, and designates the personnel who will continue providing those functions. For the County of Santa Clara, information about availability of County services is regularly updated at www.sccgov.org/sites/opa/opa/covid19.

I work for the government—Can I continue to go to work?

As a government employee, you can continue to go to work if your employer designates you as an essential employee. Each government agency is responsible for determining which of its workers are essential workers.

Can I get a building permit or building inspection from the Planning Department for my construction project, or make sure my business gets the Fire Department’s fire safety and hazmat inspection that I need to keep operating?

Contact the relevant city or county agency to determine if it is still providing the service you need as an essential governmental function. For the County of Santa Clara, information about availability of County services is regularly updated at www.sccgov.org/sites/opa/opa/covid19, and also available on individual department websites such as the Department of Planning and Development’s site at www.sccgov.org/sites/dpd/Pages/DPD.aspx.

 

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Travel and Recreation

I don’t have a car. Can I ride the bus or train, or can I get a ride in my favorite ride-share/on-demand car service or a taxi?

Yes, but public transit, ride-share services, or any other way of traveling can only be used for Essential Travel, which means:

  1. Travel related to the provision of or access to Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, Minimum Basic Operations, Outdoor Activities, and Outdoor Businesses, Additional Activities, and Additional Businesses.
  2. Travel to care for any elderly, minors, dependents, or persons with disabilities.
  3. Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
  4. Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the County.
  5. Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
  6. Travel required for non-residents to return to their place of residence outside the County. Individuals are strongly encouraged to verify that their transportation out of the County remains available and functional prior to commencing such travel.
  7. Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial.
  8. Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
  9. Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
  10. Travel for parental custody arrangements.
  11. Travel to a place to temporarily reside in a residence or other facility to avoid potentially exposing others to COVID-19, such as a hotel or other facility provided by a governmental authority for such purposes.

When you are on public transit, you must wear a face covering (unless 6 years old or under or medically inadvisable), and follow the Order’s social distancing requirements to the greatest extent feasible, including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit; frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer; covering coughs and sneezes; and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms (see www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html).

When you use ride-share services for essential travel, keep in mind that you should avoid as much as possible being in close quarters in a vehicle that has been used by lots of other people.

Can I use a bike from a bike-share service?

Yes, you can use shared bikes and scooters for essential travel, such as commuting to work as an essential employee. But keep in mind that shared bikes and scooters are not routinely sanitized. Take precautions, including bringing sanitization wipes, not touching your face while on the bike or scooter, and washing your hands for at least 20 seconds immediately after.

Am I allowed to commute into or out of the County for work or daily activities? 

Yes, but only for work or activities allowed by the Order. You can also leave to go back home or engage in other essential travel. Otherwise, the answer is no because that puts you and others in the community at risk. Keep in mind that Health Officers in neighboring counties have issued the same or similar shelter-in-place orders. 

If I’m outside the county travelling for vacation or business, am I allowed to come home? 

Yes, the Order allows you to come home. 

I’m staying overnight in the County but live elsewhere. Can I go home? 

Yes, you can leave the County to return home. 

I rent out a room using an online platform (like Airbnb or VRBO) that facilitates short-term rentals. Can I continue renting out my room? 

The Order allows you to continue offering your room for rent. However, be advised that the Order strictly limits people’s travel to "essential travel" and activities to "essential activities," “outdoor activities,” and “additional activities” as those terms are defined in the Order. People are not allowed, for instance, to travel into the County to visit friends or sightsee. 

What kinds of sports and recreational activities are allowed?

You can do a variety of outdoor exercise and recreational activities, so long as you do them alone or with members of your household and strictly comply with social distancing requirements in the Order. Indoor gyms/recreational facilities remain closed, as do recreational areas with high-touch equipment or that encourage gathering (like playgrounds, picnic areas, and swimming pools). See the County’s Guidance on Recreational Activities and Facilities for the guidance on outdoor recreational activities and a list of sports and activities that are allowed and not allowed.

The Order prohibits non-essential travel on foot or bike—can I still go on a walk or take a bike ride?

Yes. The Order allows you to go outside for exercise activities like walking and running, as long as you strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, wearing a face covering when out in public, as recommended in the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings, except if a face covering is not necessarily recommended for you (e.g., for children 6 and younger, or anyone who has trouble breathing or is unable to remove a face covering without assistance); and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms.

Can I organize a picnic or other outdoor activity with friends if we stay 6 feet apart?

No. You are not allowed to gather for any exercise, sports, or recreational activities except with members of your household or living unit. This means no gathering for picnics, sports, or other recreational activities with your friends or neighbors, even if you keep your distance. If you are exercising in a space where others are present, like a skate park or athletic field, be careful to maintain a safe social distance. If crowding becomes a problem, people may be told to spread out or leave.

I get anxious when I’m cooped up inside. Am I allowed to go on a hike? Can I go to a County park or open space?

Yes. Spending time outside improves mood and well-being, and it is particularly beneficial to children. You can go for walks, go to the park, and enjoy other outdoor activities. But operators of parks, beaches, and other open spaces may restrict entry, close certain areas, or close the whole facility altogether if the Health Officer orders those measures to reduce crowding and limit risk of COVID-19 exposure. 

While you’re on a hike or enjoying an open space area, you must strictly follow social distancing requirements including maintaining a distance of six feet from everyone outside your household or living unit, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer, covering coughs and sneezes, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with COVID-19 symptoms. You do not need to wear a face covering when you’re exercising outdoors, but it is strongly recommended that you have one with you and readily accessible. See the Health Officer’s Critical Guidance on Facial Coverings for more details.

Can I leave home to work out?

If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people or using equipment that other people outside your household have touched, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness centers, gyms, fitness equipment at parks, climbing walls, swimming pools, and other recreational and fitness facilities with equipment that lots of people touch or areas where people gather close together are closed.

Can I take my kids to the playground?

No. Recreational areas with equipment that lots of people touch or areas where people gather close together, like playgrounds, picnic areas, barbecue areas, and dog parks, must be closed and you cannot use them while the Order is in effect. You can take your kids to the park or other areas to run around in open spaces, or bring your own sports equipment to an open space as long as it is used only by members of your own household and not shared with other people.

Can golf courses reopen under the new Order?

Golf courses can reopen in compliance with the County's Guidance on Recreational Activities and Facilities and in compliance with the State Stay Home Order​ (which limits golf to single play only). Rental or use of golf carts provided by golf courses is not allowed, except by persons with disabilities who require a golf cart to access the course. Personal golf carts that are not rented may also be used, so long as they are not shared within anyone outside the owner's household or living unit. 


 ** SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS 

* Which businesses need to complete a Social Distancing Protocol? 

Every business with a facility in the County used by workers or the public must prepare and implement a Social Distancing Protocol. This includes facilities that are open as essential businesses, outdoor businesses, or for curbside/outside retail or other additional business operations. It also includes facilities where only minimum basic operations are being performed. If a business operates more than one facility in the County, it must complete a Social Distancing Protocol for each facility. 

** Is the Social Distancing Protocol a requirement, or just guidance? 

Social Distancing Protocols are required for all business facilities in the County that are currently open for any workers or the public.  Failure to comply with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements is a violation of the Order, and may result in fines and other penalties.  Businesses must implement all measures identified in the Social Distancing Protocol applicable to their facilities. 

** Why are Social Distancing Protocols required? 

The Social Distancing Protocol contains up-to-date public health measures designed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 at business facilities in the County. Sheltering at home remains the safest way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. But if your business is essential or you are now allowed to reopen your facility, strictly implementing these health and safety protocols is the next best way to protect yourself, your workers, and your customers from COVID-19 when they are at your business facility. The COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet that must be posted are also designed to show workers and the public that your business is both complying with these requirements and doing its part to keep the community safe. 

** What does my business need to do to comply with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements? 

Before reopening, your business must do the following: 

  1. Complete a Social Distancing Protocol for each facility in the County frequented by workers or the public, using the template provided in Appendix A to the Order. 
  2. Distribute a copy of the Protocol to all workers (employees, volunteers, contractors, etc.) that work at the facility. 
  3. Post a COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and complete and post a Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet at public entrances to your facility, where they can be easily viewed.  
  4. Post the signage required in the Protocol at each public entrance of the facility to inform visitors of social distancing, face covering, and health and hygiene requirements. 
  5. Implement the measures in your Social Distancing Protocol. 

**I completed a Social Distancing Protocol for my business facility under the prior Shelter in Place Order. Do I need to complete a new one? 

Yes. The May 22 Order made many important changes to the old Social Distancing Protocol template. If you previously completed a Social Distancing Protocol for your business facility, you must update your old one by using the new template included in Appendix A to the May 22 Order. You must do before May 22. You must also give a copy to all workers (employees, volunteers, contractors, etc.) at your facility, implement the new measures, and post the COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet included in Appendix A to the Order. 

** Do I need to implement every measure in the Social Distancing Protocol template for my business facility? 

Yes, you must implement all measures applicable to your type of facility. Most measures apply to all facilities – like the requirements for personnel safety training, signage, individual control measures and screenings, and many of the measures regarding hand-washing, sanitization, social distancing, and compliance. Some measures, though, are unique to certain types of facilities. For instance, facilities that are not used for customer retail do not need to implement the measures concerning reusable bags, contactless payment systems, and other measures specifically applicable to retail operations. You must be prepared to explain why any measure not implemented is inapplicable to your facility. 

** What parts of the Social Distancing Protocol do I need to post? 

After completing the Social Distancing Protocol, you must post the COVID-19 PREPARED Sign and complete and post the Social Distancing Protocol Visitor Information Sheet at each public entrance to the facility where they are easily visible (such as in a window). You must also post the signage required in the Social Distancing Protocol, which informs visitors to the facility of social distancing, face covering, and health and hygiene requirements. Sign templates are available on the County’s website. You are not required to post the Social Distancing Protocol itself, though you must distribute a copy to each worker (employees, volunteers, contractors, etc.) at the facility and implement its measures.  And you must be prepared to present a copy of the full Social Distancing Protocol upon request. 

** Do construction sites need to complete Social Distancing Protocol? 

No. Construction projects must comply with the requirements for Construction Project Safety Protocols​. They do not also need to complete and implement Social Distancing Protocols. 

Are government agencies required to complete Social Distancing Protocols for facilities where essential governmental functions are being performed? 

Social Distancing Protocols are strictly required for all business facilities. They are not mandated for governmental facilities, but they are strongly encouraged for these facilities too. 

** The Social Distancing Protocol template requires me to limit the number of people in my business facility. How do I determine the maximum number of people allowed in? 

Retail businesses that are allowed to resume operations on May 22, and businesses that support those retailers through manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, or other logical services, are required to limit the number of workers in their facility at any time to one worker per 300 gross square feet of the facility. If you operate one of these businesses, calculate the total square footage of your facility (taking into account all parts of the facility) and divide it by 300 to determine the maximum number of workers allowed in.  

All other facilities (including outdoor ones) must limit the number of entrants to ensure that everyone—including workers and customers—can easily maintain at least six feet of social distance at all times. To determine the maximum number of allowed occupants, calculate and record the total square footage of the facility and the square footage available to the public. Then determine the number of people who can be safely inside those areas at the same time, and record that on your protocol. You must ensure that this number is not exceeded. 

** Do Outdoor Businesses need to comply with the Social Distancing Protocol requirements? 

Yes. All business facilities frequented by workers or the public must have a Social Distancing Protocol, including outdoor businesses. 

** My business is closed down except for minimum basic operations. Does it need a Social Distancing Protocol? 

Yes. All business facilities frequented by workers or the public must have a Social Distancing Protocol, including those that are only visited by workers performing minimum basic operations. 

** How do I determine what additional health and safety measures might be relevant for my facility beyond those specifically listed in the Social Distancing Protocol template? 

The County Public Health Department together with the Department of Environmental Health and County Agricultural Commissioner’s Office, respectively, have released detailed guidance documents for food facilities and for agricultural operations and their workers. If you operate one of these businesses, you should review and follow the separate guidance document and add any additional requirements or measures applicable to your facility to your Social Distancing Protocol. All businesses should also review relevant statewide industry guidance for additional measures.  

** Should I post instructions for customers beyond the signage required by the Social Distancing Protocol? 

Depending on the type of facility, the Social Distancing Protocol may contain measures that customers and other visitors to your facility should know about beyond those included in the required signage. For instance, food facilities must implement measures to prevent contact with customers’ reusable bags (like requiring customers using reusable bags to bag their own groceries) and prevent customers from using reusable cups and food containers from home for takeaway. It is recommended that you include these and other directions for customers applicable to your facility on signage at public entrances so customers know what they need to do to keep themselves and others safe when visiting. 

** The Social Distancing Protocol in Appendix A requires employers to conduct temperature and symptom screenings for employees at the beginning of their shifts. Do the temperature screenings require a temperature check with a thermometer or thermal scanner?

No, measuring employees’ temperatures using a thermometer or thermal scanner is not required. Screening employees for temperature and symptoms means that employees should be asked before starting work if they feel or recently felt feverish,  and have or recently had other symptoms such as cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, chills, and muscle/body aches. This verbal screening process is required.

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Last updated: 5/29/2020 4:11 PM