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Public Health Orders

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Last content update: 9/16/2020

On August 28th, 2020, the State released its Blueprint for a Safer Economy (“Blueprint”), which created a tiered system of COVID-19 restrictions that all counties in California must follow. Santa Clara County is currently in Tier Two (Red) and will stay there until the State moves Santa Clara County into Tier Three (Orange) or back into Tier One (Purple). The most restrictive rules apply to Tier One, and the least restrictive rules apply to Tier Four.

As long as Santa Clara County is in Tier Two, all Tier Two restrictions will apply. As always, Santa Clara County residents and businesses must follow both the State and County Health Officer Orders, and where there is a conflict between the two, the stricter Order must be followed.​

Tier Two restrictions are different from Tier One restrictions (which were previously in place) in the following ways:

  • All personal care services businesses may now operate indoors, except for specific services (like facials and face makeup application) that are still not allowed indoors because they require removal of a face covering and are too risky.
  • Indoor shopping malls may increase their capacity limit from 25% to 50% of normal capacity(or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter).  Common areas must remain closed.  Note that the County’s Risk Reduction Order does not allow food courts to open any indoor dining areas.
  • Retail businesses may increase their capacity limit from 25% to 50% of normal capacity (or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter).
  • Libraries may increase their capacity limit from 25% to 50% of normal capacity (or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter).
  • Gyms and fitness centers may now operate indoors, but they must limit capacity to 10% of normal (or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter).  This applies also to indoor sports and dance facilities (e.g., gymnastics, martial arts, fencing, and Zumba facilities). 
  • Museums and zoos may now operate indoors, but they must limit capacity to 25% of normal (or to the capacity allowed by the County’s Risk Reduction Order, whichever is stricter).

See the following charts for further information on what is allowed indoors and outdoors in Santa Clara County:

New Order Issued July 2, 2020:  The Health Officer issued a new Order on July 2, 2020. This Order will go into effect on July 13, 2020. Below are the July 2 Order and some documents to help you understand it.

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.

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 of Current Order   PDF​

As COVID-19 rates across our state and region continue to increase, the County Health Officer is shifting to a new approach to contain the virus and protect the safety of our community. The new Health Officer Order, issued July 2, 2020, imposes strict across-the-board risk reduction measures on activities and businesses. The Order also allows certain activities to resume if those measures are followed, primarily those that were already open in surrounding jurisdictions.

General Requirements:

  • The Order urges County residents to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by staying home as much as possible and minimizing trips and activities outside the home.
  • Individuals over age 70 and those with serious underlying medical conditions should stay home other than for essential needs.
  • The Order requires all individuals to strictly follow social distancing requirements when outside their home, and generally prohibits all activities that don’t allow for social distancing.

Gatherings:  The Order strongly discourages gatherings, but it allows outdoor gatherings of up to 60 people. As explained in the Health Officer’s Mandatory Directive for Gatherings, indoor gatherings are not allowed at this time. Gatherings have special rules and must comply with the Directive.

Face coverings:  Everyone must comply with the Face Covering Guidance issued by the California Department of Public Health, which requires most people to wear a face covering most of the time whenever they leave home.

Requirements Applicable to All Businesses:

The Order requires that all businesses that are open for their workers or for customers follow a set of rules to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including:

  1. Telework:  All businesses must continue to require workers to do their jobs from home whenever possible. Workers can go into work only to complete the job duties they can’t complete from home.
  2. New Social Distancing Protocol requirements:  All businesses must complete and submit an updated Social Distancing Protocol for each of their facilities on the County’s website at COVID19Prepared.org. The Social Distancing Protocol must be signed under penalty of perjury and will be posted on the County’s website. Businesses that operate from a facility must post an updated COVID-19 Prepared sign and Visitor Information summary sheet. Businesses that provide services at several facilities that they do not own (like cleaning services) must distribute the Protocol to the owners or operators of each location they serve. All businesses must distribute the Protocol to their workers.
  3. Capacity limitations:  All businesses must comply with the same density limitations. There may be no more than one worker per 250 gross square feet of the facility, and no more than one customer or member of the public per 150 square feet of space open to the public. Exceptions apply for healthcare, education and childcare facilities. And capacity limits do not apply to children under age 12 when accompanying a parent into a business facility.
  4. 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.

Mandatory Directives:  The Health Officer will issue a set of mandatory directives with rules to reduce risk in the following specific industries and activities:

  • Personal Services, including hair and nail salons, massage therapy, and other body care services
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Construction
  • Recreational and athletic activities
  • Gatherings, including for social, economic, religious, cultural, and other purposes
  • Agriculture
  • Hotels and motels
  • Public transit
  • Childcare, summer camps, and children’s activities
  • Pools
  • Outdoor dining
  • Food facilities

All businesses and people in the County must follow these directives, as well as the industry-specific guidance issued by the State.

Some business facilities remain closed:  Business facilities that pose a high risk of COVID-19 transmission or large outbreaks must stay closed to the public. These include any indoor facility used for activities where face masks are removed (including indoor dining and bars, indoor swimming pools, saunas, heated exercise rooms, and smoking lounges), nightclubs, theaters, stadiums, arenas, music venues, indoor playgrounds and amusement centers, and non-residential adult and elder daycare facilities.

The State’s Stay at Home Order:  In addition to the County Health Officer Order, businesses and residents must comply with the State’s Stay-at-Home Order. If there is a conflict between the two Orders, the more restrictive Order applies. Businesses that are allowed to open under the County Order should confirm that they are also allowed to open under the State Order. And County residents who want to participate in activities allowed under the County Order, including gatherings, should confirm that those activities are also allowed under the State Order.

When is the Order effective?  It depends. The County is submitting an application to the State that, if approved, would allow more businesses to open under the State’s Stay-at-Home Order. The State calls this a “variance.” If the State approves the County’s application for a variance before July 13, then the Order goes into effect on July 13. Otherwise, the Order will go into effect two days after the State approves the County’s variance. Continue to check the Public Health website for updates.

 

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Last updated: 9/18/2020 4:05 PM