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Public Health Orders

Last content update: 2/26/2021

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UPDATE: On January 25, 2021, the California Department of Public Health announced that the Bay Area Region is no longer subject to the State’s Regional Stay At Home Order. However, Santa Clara County continues to experience an alarming rate of COVID-19 transmission, and hospital and ICU capacities remain extremely limited in the county and region. The danger COVID-19 poses to our community has not subsided, and the County Health Officer urges businesses, entities, and residents to continue exercising the utmost caution even as certain restrictions are lifted by the State.

Effective January 25, 2021, all businesses, entities, and individuals in Santa Clara County are subject to the restrictions in the Purple Tier of the State’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, and to additional restrictions that the County Health Officer has imposed. As always, businesses, entities, and individuals must follow both the State and County Health Officer Orders, and where there is a conflict between the two, the stricter rules must be followed.

The following documents can be reviewed for further information on the Revised Order.

The following documents are the Mandatory Health Officer Directives that specify requirements for businesses and activities:


Testing Order Issued September 16, 2020:  The Health Officer issued an amended Order regarding Testing on September 16, 2020. This new order enhances testing access by expanding the number of Essential Workers entitled to testing, makes sure access to testing is easy and quick, and ensures that healthcare providers inform their patients about how to access testing. This Order will go into effect on September 25, 2020.

New Order Issued September 4, 2020:  The Health Officer issued a new Order regarding influenza vaccinations on September 4, 2020. This Order will go into effect on September 8, 2020.

New Order Issued January 7, 2021:  The Health Officer issued a new Order regarding COVID-19 Vaccination Information and Plans. This Order will go into effect on January 7, 2021.

  • Health Officer COVID-19 Vaccination Order (PDF): | English​ |

Public health Orders are legal orders issued under the authority of California law. Learn more about the enforcement of County and State Public Health Orders​. Violations of these orders are punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.  ​


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Executive Summary of Revisions to the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directives Effective February 26, 2021 (Updated February 26, 2021) PDF​

In light of recent progress in reducing COVID-19 transmission, the County Health Officer is making changes to the local public health directives to allow more outdoor activities to occur. However, despite the recent progress, Santa Clara County continues to experience very high rates of COVID-19 transmission, and the danger COVID-19 poses to our community remains substantial.  The County Health Officer urges businesses, entities, and residents to continue exercising caution. 

Below is a summary of changes effective February 26, 2021:

  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Youth and Adult Recreational Athletic Activities is no longer in effect. These activities remain  subject to the State’s Guidance on Outdoor and Indoor Youth and Recreational Adult Sports and the County’s updated Mandatory Directive for Gatherings.
  • The County’s Mandatory Directive for Programs Serving Children and Youth is no longer in effect. These activities remain subject to all applicable State guidance (which may include the State’s guidance on Day Camps, Fitness Facilities, Child Care Programs and Providers, and/or Cohorts).
  • The Mandatory Directive for Schools has been converted to operational guidance. Schools remain subject to the State’s Public Health Guidance for K-12 Schools and are also encouraged to follow the County’s Guidance for Schools.
  • The Health Officer has issued a new Mandatory Directive for Case Reporting by K-12 Schools, Youth Athletic Programs, and Other Youth Programs. This new directive preserves the requirements formerly included in some of the directives above that any program with one or more youth participants to report immediately to the County Public Health Department if any program participant tests positive for COVID-19.
  • The rules for outdoor gatherings in the Mandatory Directive for Gatherings have been relaxed. However:
    • The Health Officer still recommends that you wear a face covering at all times at outdoor gatherings, but face coverings are required only if you are within six feet of someone who is not a member of your household.
    • The Health Officer still recommends that you maintain at least six feet of social distance from anyone who is not a member of your household at outdoor gatherings, but it is not required.
    • You are allowed to sing at outdoor gatherings without a face covering, provided that you stay at least six feet away from everyone who is not a member of your household.
  • Until the County is placed in the State’s “Red Tier,” indoor gatherings remain prohibited (except indoor religious gatherings, which are allowed at 20% capacity pursuant to a court order).  The Health Officer strongly discourages gatherings—especially indoor gatherings—due to the severe risk of transmission they pose.

Below are key rules under the Current Local Orders (the County Health Officer’s October 5, 2020 Revised Risk Reduction Order and associated Mandatory Directives), which are applicable to all businesses and remain in effect:

  1. Telework: All businesses must continue to require workers to do their jobs from home whenever possible.  Workers may go in to work only to complete the job duties they can’t complete from home.
  2. Social Distancing Protocol requirements: All businesses must complete and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol for each of their facilities on the County’s website at  Social Distancing Protocols submitted prior to October 11, 2020 are no longer valid.  The Revised Social Distancing Protocols must be filled out using an updated template for the Social Distancing Protocol at
  3. Positive case reporting: All businesses (and governmental entities) are legally required to report to the Public Health Department within 4 hours if they learn that any of their workers are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. They must also ensure workers alert them if they test positive.
  4. Capacity Limitation and Metering: All businesses must comply with applicable State and County capacity limitations.  All businesses (except for acute care hospitals) with indoor facilities open to the public must establish a “metering system” to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceeded by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting.
  5. Indoor Breakroom Closure: All businesses (except acute care hospitals) must limit employees’ access to indoor workplace breakrooms as described in section 3 of the Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations.


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Last updated: 2/26/2021 8:41 PM