Last content update: 7/8/2020
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.
- Health Officer Risk Reduction Order (PDF): |
- July 2 Order Executive Summary (PDF): |
- Social Distancing Protocol
- Requirements for All Businesses (PDF): |
- What Should Customers See in Every Business? (PDF): |
- Mandatory Health Officer Directives: the Health Officer will begin issuing mandatory Directives for specific business sectors and activities, including:
- Personal Care Services (PDF) (including hair and nail salons, tattoo and piercing shops, massage therapy, and other services providing body care services)
- Tenant and Lessee Affirmation of Social Distancing Protocol Form (PDF)
- Outdoor Dining - (PDF)
- Construction - (PDF)
- Food Facilities - (PDF)
- Gatherings (including social, religious, political, ceremonial, athletic, and other types of gatherings) - (PDF)
- Public Transit - Coming Soon
- Hotels/Motels - Coming Soon
- Agriculture - Coming Soon
- Outdoor Pools - (PDF)
- Recreation and Athletics - Coming Soon
- Childcare, summer camps, and children’s activities - Coming Soon
- Gyms and Fitness Centers - (PDF)
June 5, 2020 Updates to Current County Order: The Order will be updated at 12:01 am on Friday, June 5, 2020, and will remain in effect until the Health Officer amends or rescinds it. This updated Order modifies the current order, which went into effect on May 22, 2020. Below are the June 5, 2020 updates and updated Appendices:
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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July 2nd Executive Summary 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.
- 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 (up to 60 people) and indoor gatherings (up to 20 people). Gatherings have special rules and must comply with the Health Officer’s forthcoming Mandatory Directive on Gatherings.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Recreational and athletic activities
- Gatherings, including for social, economic, religious, cultural, and other purposes
- Hotels and motels
- Public transit
- Childcare, summer camps, and children’s activities
- 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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Frequently Asked Questions (June 5 Order)
* Revised ** New
The June 5 Order Explained
** What does the June 5 Order do?
This updated Order replaces the May 22 Shelter-in-Place Order as of 12:01 a.m. on June 5, 2020. This Order allows more businesses to open that could not operate under the May 22 Order, and it allows more activities to resume.
** Do we still have to shelter in place?
Yes. The June 5 Order allows several additional businesses and activities to resume, but it still requires everyone in Santa Clara County to continue sheltering in place. This means that you must stay in your home and not leave except for one of the exceptions listed in the Order (discussed more below). That said, many activities and businesses are now open with modifications.
** If a business or activity is allowed by the Order, why is it still subject to social distancing limitations?
Santa Clara County continues to make substantial progress in slowing the spread of COVID-19. To make sure we do not lose that progress, we must be cautious and thoughtful as we move forward. Many businesses and activities are allowed under the June 5 Order, but all of them are subject to social distancing limitations. These restrictions are designed to reduce transmission risk and make our community as safe as possible while we reopen additional businesses and activities. The Order requires employers, employees, customers, and members of the public to take steps to protect themselves and one another from the spread of COVID-19. Those required steps are discussed in detail below.
** When does this Order take effect? When does it end?
The updated Order goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on June 5, 2020. The updated Order does not currently have an end date; it will stay in effect until it is modified or rescinded by the Health Officer.
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.
** Does the June 5 Order shut down anything that was open under the last Order?
No. The June 5 Order does not impose any new prohibitions on businesses or activities – in other words, you can still do everything you could do under the prior Order. But social distancing limitations continue to apply to all allowed businesses and all activities that occur outside the home, and different social distancing limitations apply depending on the type of business or activity, based on the level of risk. See below for more details.
** What is allowed under the June 5 Order that wasn’t allowed under the May 22 Order?
The June 5 Order allows the following businesses to reopen, subject to limitations (discussed more below):
- Outdoor dining at restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food.
- Retail and shopping centers for in-store shopping.
- Childcare, summer camps, summer school, and all other educational or recreational programs (including Little League and similar children’s teams) for all children, in stable groups of up to 12 children.
- All manufacturing, warehousing, and logistics.
- House cleaning and other no-contact in-home services.
- Low-contact/no-contact service businesses such as shoe repair, watch repair, and similar services.
- All pet grooming.
The June 5 Order also allows the following activities, subject to limitations (discussed more below):
- Outdoor ceremonies and outdoor religious services, in groups no larger than 25.
- All outdoor recreational activities that do not involve physical contact, including swimming in pools, hiking, tennis, golf, etc. Households may now participate in these activities with members of one other household, with social distancing.
- Drive-in theaters, car-based gatherings, and drive-thru events.
Click here for a summary of allowable businesses and activities.
** It seems like a lot more businesses and activities are now allowed (with social distancing limitations). Is there anything that is still completely prohibited?
Yes. Businesses and activities that are not specifically allowed in the Order are prohibited. This generally includes businesses and activities that promote close gatherings, direct personal contact, or prolonged interactions between groups of people; and/or include lots of high-touch equipment, facilities, or games. Prohibited businesses and activities include, but are not limited to, entertainment venues, amusement parks, arcades, bars, indoor dining at restaurants, contact sports, sporting competitions, gyms and indoor fitness facilities, spas, barbers and hair stylists, tanning salons, and other similar businesses.
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 June 5 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)
- Can only gather with other people if the type of gathering is specifically authorized (see the Order and these FAQs for details)
- 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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*Am I required to wear a face covering when I’m out in public?
Yes. Under the June 5 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 and while carrying out deliveries as part of your job. 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?
No, 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.
** Do I need to wear a face covering while dining outdoors at a restaurant?
If you’re dining at a restaurant that is allowed to open for outdoor dining under the June 5 Order, you must wear a face covering while waiting in line, going to or from your table, using the restroom, ordering your meal, and at other times the restaurant may require. 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).
** Do my kids need to wear face coverings while at summer camps or other programs for children? Do I need to wear a face covering when doing drop-off or pickup?
Yes for you and for older kids. Program staff and all children ages 13 and older must wear a face covering at all times while attending programs or camps for children, unless they are eating, sleeping, or actively exercising, in which case they should still keep their face covering with them to put back on when done. Children ages 7-12 should wear face coverings while under direct adult supervision, unless they are eating, sleeping, or exercising, in which case they should still keep their face covering with them to put back on later. Parents and caregivers should also wear face coverings when they are picking up and dropping off their children. Face coverings are not required for anyone if medically inadvisable for that person.
*Can I leave home to visit friends or family if there is no urgent need or I am not performing an essential activity?
Yes, but only if you limit it to one other household, stay outdoors, and maintain social distance of at least six feet from everyone who does not reside in your household. You can only meet with one other household at any time: gatherings of more than two households are not allowed. Visiting friends or family in their homes is not allowed, except to provide essential care.
Can I organize or participate in a car caravan or car parade so long as people stay in their cars?
Yes. People can now hold parades in cars and trucks, provided that only members of the same household ride in a single vehicle, people do not leave their vehicles at any time during the parade, and participating vehicles do not congregate together at any time. You may not ride in the bed of a pickup truck during a parade. Bikes and motorcycles are not allowed in 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.
** What about automobile-based gatherings and events (like drive-in religious services or drive-in movies theaters) – are those allowed now?
Yes. Drive-in services, drive-in entertainment, and other automobile-based gatherings are allowed, so long as they follow these rules:
- No more than 100 vehicles (cars and trucks) may be present at any time. Bicycles and motorcycles are not allowed.
- Only members of the same household may be together in the same vehicle. Participants cannot change vehicles during the event or service.
- No one may leave their vehicle during the event except to use a restroom, for an emergency, or to occupy a stage. (Event staff and security may be outside, so long as they maintain at least six feet social distance.)
- No more than five people may be on a stage at any time, and they must remain at least six feet apart.
- The event may last no more than three hours.
- Everyone must wear a face covering when outside their vehicle or when a window or convertible top is down (except children 6 years old or younger or if medically inadvisable).
- The gathering or event must comply with all laws and any permitting requirements.
- There must be a designated host (a person or business) for the gathering, who makes sure all the rules are followed.
- For gatherings of more than 10 vehicles, the host must request security staffing from local law enforcement and pay any security costs required. If law enforcement declines to provide security, the host must find private security. A host can use in-house security officers if it has them.
* Can common recreational spaces in multi-unit housing communities such as apartment and condo buildings (like gyms and roof decks) open?
Outdoor athletic facilities in multi-unit communities (like basketball courts) may reopen, so long as there in no crowding and everyone is able to maintain a safe social distance of at least six feet at all times. Swimming pools can also open as of June 5, following the rules in Appendix C-1
. Common spaces that encourage gathering or have high-touch equipment (like shared barbecue areas and playgrounds) must stay closed. Indoor recreational facilities (like gyms) must also stay closed.
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?
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 a service at my church, synagogue, or mosque?
No. For your safety as well as the safety of fellow worshippers, religious gatherings, ceremonies, and events held inside places of worship are not allowed at this time. People may go inside places of worship as necessary to offer remote access to services (such as by email, video streaming, or teleconference) or to maintain other minimum basic operations, like security. While remote gatherings are encouraged as the safest alternative, worshippers may now participate in small outdoor religious gatherings and automobile-based gatherings in compliance with the provisions described in Appendix C-2
** Can I attend a religious service or other ceremony outdoors?
The June 5 Order allows you to gather with others for small outdoor religious services and other ceremonies (like weddings and funerals), so long as you follow these rules:
- No more than 25 people may be present at any time.
- The entire event must occur outdoors. People may only go inside during the event to use the restroom, so long as restrooms are frequently cleaned.
- Everyone must remain at least six feet apart at all times, except for members of the same household.
- There must be a host (a person or business) for the gathering, who makes sure that everyone follows the rules.
- That host must keep a list of the names and contact information for participants. If a participant tests positive for COVID-19, the host must help the County Public Health Department identify other participants who may have been exposed to help prevent further spread of COVID-19.
- Food, beverages, and other concessions may not be provided or sold, except as necessary for ceremonial purposes (without sharing and with safety precautions).
- No sharing of equipment or other items, except between members of the same household.
- No singing or shouting (these increase risk of COVID-19 spread).
- All participants must wear face coverings at all times (except for children 6 years old and younger or if medically inadvisable).
Can I go to a bar, nightclub, or theater?
No. Entertainment venues are not allowed to operate.
**Can I eat at a restaurant?
As of June 5, restaurants and other food facilities (like coffee shops and bakeries) can serve meals to customers seated at tables outside. You can also continue to order food for delivery or pick it up for takeaway. To eat onsite at a restaurant or other food facility, you must follow these rules:
- You may sit at a table only with members of your own household, with up to 6 people at the same table.
- Make a reservation or call ahead of time if you can to confirm that there is seating capacity.
- Stay in your car or away from the restaurant while waiting to be seated.
- You can order alcohol only with a meal, not by itself.
- You can enter the indoor part of the restaurant only to use the restroom (or to pick up food for carryout).
- You must wear a face covering while waiting in line, going to or from your table, while ordering your meal, and at any other times required by the restaurant. Children 6 years old and younger, people with difficulty breathing, and people for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable are not required to wear them.
- You must follow other rules posted by the restaurant to keep customers and workers safe.
Restaurants must also comply with the COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures
for Food Facilities and Supplemental Measures for Outdoor Dining
**Can I get a drink at a bar, brewery, or winery?
No. Bars, breweries, craft distilleries, wineries, tasting rooms, and other establishments that do not also provide sit-down meal service to patrons must remain closed to the public, except for takeaway sales of products allowed by the Order and other laws.
**Can I order food from a food truck and take it to eat at a brewery?
No. Breweries and other establishments that do not have kitchens are not allowed to open up seating to the public at this time, even if they partner with a food truck.
*Can I walk my dog or use a dog park?
Yes, you can walk your dog and use dog parks, so long as you maintain at least six feet of social distance 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 hire a dog walker to walk my dog?
Yes, dog walkers are allowed to provide their services. To the extent possible, keep your interactions with the dog walker brief and outdoors, pay by phone or online to avoid handing off cash or checks, and practice contactless handoffs of your pet. Leashes and food and water containers used by the dog walker should be cleaned and sanitized before and after walks.
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. All pet grooming services are allowed to open.
* I don’t cook—how can I purchase meals?
You can order food for delivery or carryout from restaurants, cafes, food trucks, or other food facilities. You can also eat outside at restaurants that offer outdoor dining. In addition, you can purchase prepared foods at grocery stores, supermarkets, certified farmers’ markets, convenience stores, and other such food retailers. Or you can have someone come to your home to cook, as long as they maintain at least six-feet social distance from members of your household.
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 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.
** Can I hire a cleaning service to clean my home?
Yes. You can hire a home cleaning service or housekeeper to clean your residence, but they must maintain social distancing while at your home (ideally not in the same room).
** Can I hire an appliance or furniture repair person or a handyman to do work at my home?
Yes. Home repair services (such as HVAC, appliance, and furniture repair services and handypersons) may operate, but must maintain social distancing while in your home.
** Can I take items (such as shoes, watches, or jewelry) to repair shops?
Yes. Repair shops are allowed to operate, so long as they limit the number of customers inside and take other measures to reduce risk to customers and staff. This includes shoe, watch, and jewelry repair shops.
** Can I purchase clothes or other non-food items from shops in my neighborhood?
Having items delivered to your home remains the safest option, and many small shops and businesses are providing deliveries as well as curbside pickup to keep their workers and customers safe. Beginning June 5, shops can also open for in-store retail, but they will be required to limit the number of customers inside and take other measures to prevent crowding and reduce risk to customers and their staff.
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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 (including cosmetic surgeries and other cosmetic procedures). 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'm a dental provider – am I allowed to continue operating or resume care?
Yes, dental providers are encouraged to provide urgent and emergency visits while maintaining safety protocols. For all other elective procedures and non-urgent dental visits, providers should refer to the California Department of Public Health’s Guidance for Resuming Deferred and Preventive Dental Care, which provides important guidance and standards for resuming services, including avoiding aerosol generating procedures whenever possible, ensuring infection control measures are followed, and other important guidance. If you are a patient, you should contact your dentist to inquire about whether a dental service is safe or should be deferred.
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)
- Adults-BHSD MCRT: 800-704-0900
- 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, delivered, or eaten outside the cafeteria in compliance with Appendix C-1, 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.
* Does this Order require that schools shut down? What about summer school?
This Order requires that schools generally stop holding in-person classes. 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 run in-person summer school programs, recreational programs, or other programs for students provided that: (1) children are in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another more often than once every three weeks; (3) different groups stay in separate rooms; and (4) providers or educators stay solely with one group of children. Additionally, children may not move from one summer school or other program to another more than every three weeks, or attend two different programs, like summer school and camp, within the same three-week period. Please see the Public Health Department’s Guidance for Summer Camps, Summer School Programs, and Other Children’s Activities for more information.
* Are childcare facilities or programs allowed to operate? What about summer camps?
Yes. Childcare establishments, summer camps, and other educational or recreational institutions or programs can now operate for all children, not just children of certain types of workers, provided that: (1) children are in stable groups of 12 or fewer; (2) children do not change from one group to another more often than once every three weeks; (3) multiple groups in a facility stay in separate rooms; and (4) providers or educators remain solely with one group of children.
Children may not move from one childcare or similar program or institution to another more frequently than once every 3 weeks. Thus, for instance, a child may attend at most one summer camp program, childcare program, or educational or recreational program every 3-week period. To the extent possible, children should only attend programs near their place of residence or their parent’s or caregiver’s workplace.
In addition, every childcare organization and summer camp must complete a Social Distancing Protocol and follow the requirements listed in the Public Health Department’s Guidance for Summer Camps, Summer School Programs, and Other Children’s Activities.
** What about Little League and other kids’ teams?
* Are organizations that provide supervision of children (like schools, daycares, recreational organizations, and summer camps) allowed to use playgrounds, indoor gyms, and other facilities that are not otherwise allowed to be open to the public?
Yes, with conditions. Schools, daycares, summer camps, and other childcare programs may use playgrounds, indoor gyms, and other facilities for their programs even if those facilities aren’t allowed to be open to the public, but they must ensure no one else is using the same facility at the same time. In other words, these areas 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 these facilities are located on a different site, the organization must reserve them for exclusive use by children in their programs during the time of day when the camp or program is in session.
For example, a gymnastics camp that meets at a gym every morning for 3 weeks can use the gymnastics room so long as the room is reserved exclusively for the camp on those mornings. In addition, the rules in Appendix C-1
apply to use of these facilities, meaning they may only be used by a stable group of up to 12 kids at a time and there can be no mixing between different groups of kids while using these facilities. Please see the Public Health Department’s Guidance for Summer Camps, Summer School Programs, and Other Children’s Activities
for more information.
* Can childcare programs with required parental participation resume – like a parent-toddler music class or parent-toddler soccer program?
No. The Order requires that children’s programs limit enrollment to stable groups of 12 or fewer kids. Parents/caregivers may not participate in these programs unless they are teaching or leading the class. 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. However, you can get together with members of one other household, so long as you keep your interactions outside and everyone maintains at least six feet social distance from each other at all times. You cannot gather with people from more than one other household, even if you maintain social distance.
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Guidance for Graduation/Recognition of Graduates
* How can schools recognize graduates and distribute diplomas/certificates?
The purpose of this document is to provide guidance for 2020 school graduation recognition in light of the current Santa Clara County Shelter in Place Order. To slow and decrease the spread of COVID-19, Santa Clara County joined Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo Counties and the City of Berkeley in directing their respective residents to shelter at home. Many businesses and activities have been able to resume since the initial Shelter in Place Order was issued, but restrictions and social distancing limitations are still in place to ensure that COVID-19 transmission remains low. The current Shelter in Place Order in Santa Clara County was updated on June 5, 2020 will remain in effect until the Health Officer amends or rescinds it.
We recognize the need for people to connect and celebrate during this time of graduation. At the same time, gatherings are a major contributor to the spread of COVID-19, so we strongly encourage organizers to consider “virtual” graduations that can be held online.
Additionally, the following guidelines offer an opportunity for graduates to pick up their diplomas, and for celebrating graduates safely:
To provide an opportunity for students, accompanied by their household members, to receive a diploma/certificate at the school campus, we ask that schools follow these rules as they plan these activities:
For Walk-Up Diploma Pickup:
- For most schools, based on the number of students graduating and the space in which diplomas will be handed out, diploma pickup timing should be staggered to ensure social distancing can be maintained and no persons congregate outside their vehicles.
- Limit the number of people who can accompany the student to the site, allowing only parents/caregivers and siblings (just those currently living in the student’s household) to attend.
- Ensure that only one family at a time approaches a graduation table/station where the student will receive a diploma.
- Ensure that each family maintains social distance from all others, spaced at least 6 feet apart. The more space the better.
- Ensure that all diploma pick-up occurs outside, if at all possible.
- Be sure that school staff are also practicing social distancing and are spaced 6 feet apart at minimum.
- Planning for the diploma pickup must be done in such a way to ensure that there is no congregation of spectators/observers who are not inside a vehicle.
- Ensure that families and staff are advised to wear cloth face coverings (unless they are 6 years old or younger or it is medically inadvisable for them to wear a face covering).
- Ensure that there are ample handwashing stations on site and/or hand sanitizing stations accessible so students and staff are able to wash their hands upon entering and exiting.
- Inform families and students that they should leave the school campus immediately after receiving their diploma.
- If families drive their vehicles to the graduation site, ask that families park and wait to be called forward. Ensure they do not leave their vehicle until called. Vehicles must remain 6 feet apart at all times.
- Students and staff should be reminded NOT to participate in the ceremony if they are sick (if they have a new cough, complaints of sore throat or shortness of breath, or have a fever).
- If families walk or bike to the walk-up graduation site, be sure to have a safe staging area where groups are able to social distance while they wait to be called. Use chalk, chairs, and/or tape to designate spaces for families to wait.
- Time the event appropriately to ensure families aren’t waiting in their cars or in the staging area for long periods of time, which might encourage congregating outside of vehicles.
- Consult with local law enforcement if a group of more than 10 vehicles may be congregating in one place for an extended period for the purpose of holding an automobile gathering (see section (2) of Appendix C-2 for more information on automobile gatherings).
For Drive-thru Diploma Pickup:
- Schools that wish to hold drive-thru graduation events should organize them in accordance with the requirements of section (2) of Appendix C-2.
- Diplomas may be placed into trunks of cars or handed to graduates through vehicle windows. No items may be passed between occupants of separate vehicles.
- No one may ride in the bed of a pickup truck, or ride a bicycle or motorcycle, during the drive-thru event.
Ideas for Celebrating Graduates:
If families wish to celebrate a graduate with people outside the graduate’s household or living unit, they may do so in the following ways:
- With a remote celebration conducted virtually over videoconference or telephone.
- With an automobile parade or automobile gathering. The limitations and requirements for these events are in sections (1) and (2) of Appendix C-2.
- By holding small outdoor graduation ceremonies of up to 25 people. The limitations and requirements for these events are in section (5) of Appendix C-2.
By meeting with members of up to one other household for an outdoor, socially distanced gathering such as a picnic or frisbee game. The limitations and requirements for these events are in section (3) of Appendix C-2.
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** What kinds of businesses can be open starting on June 5?
“Essential businesses,” “outdoor businesses,” businesses serving an “essential governmental function,” and “additional businesses” listed in Appendix C-1 of the Order can be open if they follow the rules in the Order and Appendix.
This graphic provides a summary of the types of businesses that are already allowed to be open, and the additional businesses that can open starting on June 5. These additional businesses are:
- All retail stores for in-store shopping [NEW on June 5], as long as they limit the number of people inside to only 1 worker for every 300 gross square feet of facility space, and only 1 customer for every 200 square feet of store space open to the public. Please read Appendix C-1 for more details.
- All manufacturing businesses [NEW on June 5], as long as they limit the number of people onsite to only 1 person for every 300 gross square feet of facility space (unless they are operating as an essential business or essential governmental function).
- All businesses that provide warehousing, delivery, distribution, and other logistical services [NEW on June 5], as long as they limit the number of people onsite to only 1 person for every 300 gross square feet of facility space (unless they are operating as an essential business or essential governmental function). They must also minimize the number of workers in delivery vehicles, and require workers to wear face coverings inside vehicles.
- Outdoor museums, outdoor historical sites, and public gardens [allowed as of May 22], as long as 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.
- Childcare, Summer Camps, Summer Schools, and Recreational Activities for Children for all children [NEW on June 5], if they follow the rules in the County’s Guidance for Summer Camps, Summer School Programs, and Other Children’s Activities and the Caretaking and Education section of these FAQs.
- Services that do not Require Customer Contact [NEW on June 5], such as pet grooming, pet boarding, and dog walking; shoe, watch, jewelry, and other repairs; tailoring; home cooking and maintenance; and cleaning services, as long as they follow the detailed rules in Appendix C-1.
- Outdoor Dining [NEW on June 5], as long as restaurants or other food facilities that provide meal service: (i) limit capacity to 6 customers per table, all from the same household; (ii) separate all tables by at least 6 feet; (iii) close their bars and any event/stage areas; (iv) serve alcohol only to customers who are also ordering food; and (v) offer curbside pickup, takeaway, and/or delivery for customers who don’t want to dine in. Customers eating at restaurants or food facilities can go indoors only to wash their hands or use the restroom. Customers must wear face coverings when waiting in line, being seated by waitstaff, ordering their food, walking to and from the restroom, leaving, and at other times required by the facility to keep customers and workers safe (except for customers 6 years old and younger or those for whom face coverings are medically inadvisable).
- Outdoor Swimming Pools [NEW on June 5], as long as they limit the number of people in the pool to avoid crowding, require swimmers from different households to stay 6 feet apart from each other, close locker rooms, and prohibit gathering outside the pool.
- Campgrounds [NEW on June 5], as long as camping spots are limited to people from a single household, and every other adjacent camping spot is closed off to maintain adequate distance from other households.
Before they can reopen, these businesses must comply with the Order’s Social Distancing Protocol requirements, including:
- Completing a Social Distancing Protocol for all of their facilities visited by staff or the public;
- Providing all workers at the facility with a copy of the Protocol;
- Implementing the provisions in the Protocol;
- 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 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.
What are “Essential Businesses”?
The following excerpt from the Order lists the “Essential Businesses”:
- Healthcare Operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure;
- 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.
- Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
- 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;
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
- 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;
- Bicycle repair and supply shops;
- Banks and related financial institutions;
- 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);
- Hardware stores;
- 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;
- Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
- 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;
- Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
- 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;
- Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains;
- 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;
- 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;
- 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;
- Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and pets;
- Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
- 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;
- Services to assist individuals in finding employment with Essential Businesses;
- Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed under this Order; and
- 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:
- 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).
Children shall not change from one group to another.
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.
- Providers or educators shall remain solely with one group of children.
** What are the new rules for retail stores?
Any retail store that was previously allowed to be open for in-person shopping by customers may 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, including convenience stores and liquor stores), 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 as all businesses and transactions with the public occur outdoors.
All other kinds of retail businesses are also now allowed to reopen for in-store shopping, BUT there are strict limitations on the number of people who can be inside at the same time.
Any retail store that wants to keep selling products by curbside/outside pickup may also keep doing so. In either case, any non-essential and non-outdoor retail store must limit the number of workers onsite at any time to no more than 1 worker per 300 gross square feet. If the store allows customers in the business, it must limit the number of customers onsite at any time to no more than 1 customer per 200 square feet of store space open to the public. Please see Appendix C-1
for more information.
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:
- Maintaining a distance of six feet from others.
- Frequently washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an effective hand sanitizer.
- Covering coughs and sneezes.
- 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.
- 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 on-site operations to “Minimum Basic Operations.” “Minimum Basic Operations” means:
- 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 now. Do I need the County's permission to re-open my business?
No. If your business type is listed in Appendix C-1 (the version effective on June 5 is available here
), or your business is otherwise allowed to operate a facility under the Order, you can reopen if you follow all the rules listed for your type of business (such as avoiding crowds in retail stores by having only 1 worker per 300 gross square feet of store space, and allowing in only 1 customer per 200 square feet of store space open to the public at a time). 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 tech 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 carry out an essential business function, an essential governmental function, or 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 retail, manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, delivery, or distribution services in compliance with the rules in Appendix C-1
); 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.
If only some job duties need to be performed onsite, employees should report to the facility only to perform those duties, and then return home to perform job duties that can be performed remotely.
** Is research and new product development allowed under the June 5 Order?
Yes, all research and new product development may resume under the June 5 Order. If these business activities do not qualify as an essential business, outdoor business, or essential governmental function, they must comply with the conditions and limitations in section 2 of Appendix C-1
* Under the County’s Orders, can I bring my entire staff back to work at my facility on a rolling basis as long as I ensure they can carry out appropriate social distancing while they’re onsite at our facility?
Only those employees performing job duties that they cannot feasibly perform from home may come to a business’s facility to work.
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.
* 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 C-1
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, non-profit outdoor museums and outdoor historical sites, and nonprofit retail stores. All open non-profits must follow the rules in the Order and Appendix C-1, as applicable. 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.
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, outdoor businesses, and businesses that contract with a governmental entity to carry out an essential governmental function, as defined in the Order, are allowed to continue operating. And additional businesses like those listed in Appendix C-1
can also now be open for limited. Your employer is not allowed to bring workers to a facility to perform job functions that can be done remotely. 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, delivery, or outdoor dining only. You may not provide indoor dining services. 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. If you provide outdoor dining, you must follow the requirements listed in Appendix C-1
In addition, you should:
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
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 inside the cafeteria. Cafeterias may allow employees to eat their food in outside areas in compliance with the limitations and conditions in Appendix C-1
. 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?
Yes, with limitations. Generally, wineries are allowed to operate following the rules applicable to outdoor businesses. This means that the public is allowed to visit but must be restricted to outdoor areas only, except (i) to use restrooms (which must be frequently sanitized), and (ii) for in-store retail purchases, following the rules in Appendix C-1
to prevent too many people from being inside the retail area at the same time.
As of June 5, outdoor dining is also allowed under the rules listed in Appendix C-1, if the winery serves meals (selling food for takeaway is also allowed). On-site wine tastings and samplings are allowed only for customers who are also ordering meals to dine outdoors at the winery (in other words, alcohol cannot be served independently if customers are not ordering a meal). No wine tastings, with or without food, can occur indoors. 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, warehouses and distribution centers may open. If they are not supplying essential businesses or carrying out an essential governmental function, they must follow the rules in Appendix C-1
. Under those rules, they must limit the total number of people in their facilities at any time to 1 worker per 300 gross square feet of facility space; minimize the number of workers riding in delivery vehicles together; and require workers to wear face coverings at work and when inside delivery vehicles.
* What if I want to go to work at my office in the County and I’m not sick?
Unless your business is allowed to operate under the Order, you cannot go into work even if you want to. Even if your work is allowed, you can only go to work at the office if you cannot perform your job functions from home, or if you are carrying out an essential governmental function. You can work from home for any business if your employer allows it and your work can be done from home.
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. Some home-based services are considered essential and can continue, including home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets; services that are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home (such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, pool maintenance companies providing services necessary to maintain safety and sanitation, and other similar services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home); and home construction and repair work. For other services, like home cooking or non-essential home maintenance, the service is allowed as of June 5 provided that service workers limit contact with customers, and all customer transactions and interactions occur outdoors if possible. Home service workers must wear face coverings on the job unless it’s medically inadvisable for them or their job duties make it impossible.
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?
Can title insurance companies continue to operate?
* What are the rules for cannabis dispensaries and growers?
Medical dispensaries can dispense under healthcare industry exemptions. Suppliers to medical dispensaries and licensed medical growers can operate as well.
Non-medical cannabis dispensaries can either offer their customers curbside/outdoor pickup or allow customers to make purchases in-store. Like other kinds of retail stores, non-medical cannabis dispensaries must limit the number of workers inside at any time to no more than 1 worker per 300 gross square feet, and must limit the number of customers inside at any time to no more than 1 customer per 200 square feet of store space open to the public. 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
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. 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, or drive-in theaters reopen?
Outdoor amusement parks and concert venues can’t open. These outdoor businesses promote gatherings and prolonged interactions between groups of people, and/or include lots of high-touch equipment, facilities, or games. But drive-in theaters can open starting June 5 if they follow all the rules for automobile-based gatherings in Appendix C-2
, including but not limited to:
- Capacity is limited to a maximum of 100 cars at a time
- Event time is limited to three hours
- If there are more than 10 cars, the theater must request security through the local police department or, if the police department declines to provide it, through a private security company
- Food and concessions must stay closed
- No one can leave their car during the event, except to use the restroom
Please read Appendix C-2 for the full list of requirements.
* Are auto dealerships allowed to be open?
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). Auto dealerships can also open as of June 5 just like any other indoor retail store, with limitations to make sure too many people (either workers or customers) are not inside the store at any one time (see Appendix C-1
for the rules applying to indoor retail stores).
* Can gun shops make sales from their storefronts under the Order?
Yes. Gun stores can reopen on June 5 just like any other indoor retail store, meaning they can open to customers but must make sure that too many people (either workers or customers) are not inside the store at any one time (see Appendix C-1
for the rules applying to indoor retail stores).
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 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.
Plant nurseries that do not qualify as outdoor businesses may open starting June 5 just like any other indoor retail store, meaning they may open to customers but must make sure that too many people (either workers or customers) are not inside the store at any one time (see Appendix C-1
for the rules applying to indoor retail stores).
* Are car washes allowed to continue operating under the Order? What if they are no-touch car washes?
Yes, car washes can be open. For those that qualify as outdoor businesses, they must conduct all business and transactions involving members of the public outdoors. Those operating out of indoor facilities can open starting on June 5, as long as they limit the number of workers onsite at any one time to 1 worker per 300 gross square feet of facility space; limit the number of customers allowed in at any one time to 1 per 200 square feet of space open to the public; conduct all transactions and interactions with customers outdoors if possible; and allow customers to pay online or by phone before arriving, if possible, in order to minimize contact once they’re onsite.
* Can my flower shop reopen?
Flower shops can open for in-person shopping as of June 5 just like any other indoor retail store, meaning they can open to customers but must make sure that too many people (either workers or customers) are not inside the store at any one time (see Appendix C-1
for the rules applying to indoor retail stores). Flower wholesalers can also operate a retail storefront under the same rules, and may also deliver flowers to retail shops under the rules governing delivery in 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).
The Order does not allow open houses, but are broker’s tours allowed?
Yes, real estate brokers and agents are essential workers under the Order. Accordingly, broker’s tours are allowed provided that only one broker (in addition to the selling agent) is allowed in the property at a time. Other brokers or agents waiting to see the property must remain outdoors in a line, and there must be marks placed outdoors to ensure that the brokers or agents remain at least six feet apart while in line. Face coverings must be worn at all times during a broker’s tour. Sellers, agents, and brokers should avoid touching surfaces inside the home, and proper hand hygiene should be practiced before and after entering the home.
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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: email@example.com. 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.
The construction project safety protocols require that, if there is a positive COVID-19 case detected at a jobsite, the site must be decontaminated and sanitized by an outside vendor certified in hazmat clean ups—what certification must the outside vendor performing the decontamination and sanitization service hold to satisfy this requirement?
The third-party vendor must hold a hazardous substance removal certification, medical waste transporter license, or comparable certification or license.
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** Will election offices and vote centers be open to the public?
Yes. All voting/polling centers and other elections facilities provide an essential governmental function. All personnel can work in these facilities, and the public can access them to register to vote, to file papers to run for office or related to ballot measures, to vote, or to attend elections-related events. Facilities that may otherwise be closed pursuant to the health order may, and are encouraged to, open as vote centers. Please confirm with the Registrar of Voters for hours of operation and locations.
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:
- 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.
- Travel to care for any elderly, minors, dependents, or persons with disabilities.
- Travel to or from educational institutions for purposes of receiving materials for distance learning, for receiving meals, and any other related services.
- Travel to return to a place of residence from outside the County.
- Travel required by law enforcement or court order.
- 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.
- Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial.
- Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
- Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
- Travel for parental custody arrangements.
- 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 many nearby counties have issued 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.
* What kinds of sports and recreational activities are allowed?
You can do a variety of outdoor exercise and recreational activities, so long as you strictly comply with social distancing requirements in the Order. Indoor gyms and indoor recreational facilities remain closed, as do outdoor recreational areas with high-touch equipment like playgrounds and picnic areas. As of June 5, 2020, non-contact recreational activities may occur outdoors with members of one other household. When participating in a recreational activity with another household, you are allowed to share equipment only with your own household. However, you may pass, hit, or share a ball or frisbee back and forth between members of the two households. Everyone must remain at least six feet apart at all times from people from the other household, and everyone over the age of 6 must wear a face covering unless they are actively exercising or it would be medically inadvisable to do so. See the County’s Guidance on Recreational Activities and Facilities for the rules on outdoor recreational activities and a list of sports and activities that are allowed and not allowed.
In addition, little leagues and children’s sports teams can also resume practicing following the same rules in the Guidance for Summer Camps, Summer School Programs, and Other Children’s Activities
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?
Yes. As of June 5, 2020, you are allowed to participate in non-contact outdoor recreational activities like picnics, walking, hiking, or bicycling with members of one other household. (Shared areas with high-touch surfaces like picnic tables/BBQ areas are still closed, but you can picnic on the grass/ground). If you are enjoying the outdoors in a space where others are present, like a walking trail, skate park, or 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?
Yes, but you may only exercise outdoors and you may not use shared exercise equipment. When exercising, 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 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 tables, and barbecue areas must be closed to the public and you cannot use them while the Order is in effect.
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.
* SOCIAL DISTANCING PROTOCOLS
To learn more about the Social Distancing Protocol and to submit your Protocol with the County, visit www.covid19prepared.org.
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