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Public Health Orders

Last content update:  4/4/2020

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 Read the full Shelter in Place Order

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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Current Shelter in Place Order Explained

The Health Officer Order to Shelter in Place issued on March 31, 2020 extends the earlier order to Shelter in Place through May 3, 2020. It also limits more activities.

What is the goal of the order to shelter in place?

The order to shelter in place allows us to:

  1. Lower the number of total people who become sick.
  2. Save lives by slowing the spread of the virus to ensure we have enough room in our hospitals for people who develop severe illness.

How does sheltering in place help?

Sheltering in place is proven to slow the spread of the virus if everyone decreases the number of people with whom they come in contact because it decreases the number who might get sick from someone who is infected.

What does it mean to shelter in place?

Sheltering in place means you:

  • Must stay at home as much as possible
  • Can only leave your home for “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” carry out “minimum basic operations” for a business, perform an “essential governmental function,” or for “essential travel” as explained in the Order.
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings of any size.

Activities you can still do: (Partial list only. Refer to the links above for more detail)

  • grocery shopping, pick up medications, or pick up food to-go
  • work if you work for an essential business
  • attend doctor’s appointments
  • go outside as long as you can maintain 6 feet or more distance from others at all times

What is different in this order from the one from March 16, 2020?

The updated Order clarifies essential business and activities and has some new directives:

  • Limiting activities at parks and other outdoor activities to improve social distancing
  • Closing playgrounds and shared facilities for recreational facilities
  • Closing dog parks
  • Requiring essential businesses to prepare, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol​
  • Limiting the number of people allowed in a store at one time and providing guidance on how to control shopping lines
  • Requiring stores to provide hand sanitizer
  • Further limiting allowable construction activities
  • Eliminating the exemption for businesses that sell products that allow people to work from home
  • Allowing delivery of goods but not services to residences and businesses.

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Executive Summary

When Does this Order Take Effect?

As of 11:59 pm on March 31, 2020, all individuals in the County must strictly follow the provisions in this new Order. This new Order will be in effect through May 3, 2020, but that date could be changed by the County Health Officer.

Why this New Order?

The COVID-19 public health crisis in the County, the region, and the nation has worsened significantly over the past two weeks. Confirmed cases in the six most populous Bay Area counties have increased more than eight-fold since the Prior Shelter Order. The number of confirmed cases increased from 258 to 2,092 cases between March 15, 2020 and March 29, 2020. The number of confirmed deaths rose from 3 to 51 in this same period. While the Prior Shelter Order has been effective in reducing the rate of transmission of the COVID-19 disease (“flattening the curve”), it is not enough.

The County Health Officer has determined that more and stricter social distancing is needed to slow the rate of spread, prevent deaths, and stop the health care system from becoming overwhelmed, and that we need to continue with these social distancing measures for a longer period of time.

What are the Major Changes this New Order (March 31, 2020) Makes to the County Health Officer’s Prior Shelter Order Issued on March 16?

The new Order extends the shelter in place requirements through 11:59 p.m. on May 3, 2020.

The new Order is also more restrictive in a number of ways. Major new restrictions include:

  1. Social distancing requirements are mandatory. Unless strict compliance is explicitly waived, everyone must comply with the social distancing requirements at all times.
  2. Before Friday, April 3, 2020, essential businesses that continue to operate facilities in the County must complete, post, and implement a social distancing protocol for each facility that remains open, using the template attached to the Order.
  3. Essential businesses must maximize the number of employees who work from home, excepting only those employees who cannot perform their job duties from home.
  4. Essential businesses that continue to operate facilities in the County must scale down operations to their essential component only.
  5. Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home are no longer essential businesses under the Order, and must cease operations (except minimum basic operations) at facilities in the County.
  6. Use of playgrounds, dog parks, public picnic areas, and similar recreational areas is prohibited. These areas must be closed to public use.
  7. Use of shared public recreational facilities such as golf courses, tennis and basketball courts, pools, and rock walls is prohibited. These facilities must be closed for recreational use.
  8. Sports or activities that require use of shared equipment, like frisbees, basketballs, baseballs, and soccer balls, may only be engaged in by members of the same household.
  9. Most construction—residential and commercial—is prohibited. Exceptions are made for healthcare facility construction directly related to the COVID-19 response; affordable housing; public works projects when designated as essential by the lead governmental agency; shelters and temporary housing; projects necessary to provide critical services to certain vulnerable individuals; construction necessary to secure an existing construction site; and limited essential residential or business repairs.

The new Order also makes important clarifications. Major clarifications include:

  1. Crowding at beaches, public parks, and open spaces has been a problem. The Health Officer, government, or entity that manages the space may adopt restrictions to reduce crowding and risk of COVID-19 transmission, including limiting number of entrants, restricting vehicular access, or complete closure.
  2. Essential businesses must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the County Health Officer related to COVID-19.
  3. Childcare facilities may only provide care to children or dependents of individuals working for essential businesses, providing essential governmental functions, or performing minimum basic operations for non-essential businesses.
  4. Individuals may move residences only if it is not possible to wait until the Order expires, such as if a move is already planned or if it is necessary for safety or habitability.
  5. Landscapers and similar service professionals may only provide services necessary to maintain the sanitation, habitability, or operation of residences or businesses, or for safety reasons. They may not provide services that are cosmetic or for general upkeep.

For a complete list of significant changes, see the “Detailed Summary of Changes.”

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Detailed Summary of Changes

I Want More Detail. What Does this Order Change or Clarify?

This Order strengthens, extends, and clarifies the restrictions in the Prior Shelter Order. It also adds critical new restrictions. Here is a complete list of significant changes and clarifications. See the Order and the FAQs for additional details:

For Everyone:

  • The Order is in effect through Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., unless the Health Officer extends or shortens it.
  • Social distancing requirements are mandatory for everyone, including essential workers. These requirements include maintaining six-foot social distancing between individuals who are not members of your household. There are some exceptions—like when social distancing is impossible or inadvisable.
  • Individuals may move residences only if it’s not possible to wait until after the Order expires. In other words, you can move if the move is already planned or if it’s necessary to maintain shelter, to stay safe, or to stay in a livable residence.
  • If you move into or out of the Bay Area region, you are strongly encouraged to quarantine for 14 days, following the guidance of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • In addition to activities allowed under the Prior Shelter Order, you may leave your residence to:
    • Attend a funeral with no more than 10 individuals present.
    • Manage after-death arrangements and burial.
    • Arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
    • Avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
    • Travel for parental custody arrangements.
    • Travel to a temporary residence to avoid exposing others to COVID-19.

For Healthcare:

  • You are allowed to leave your residence to access any healthcare services, including elective and preventative care services.
  • You are allowed to leave your residence to work or volunteer at healthcare operations, as well as to provide or access health care services.
  • Blood banks and blood drives can continue to operate. You’re allowed to work or volunteer for blood banks or blood drives, and you can donate blood.

For Recreation:

  • If you visit a park, beach, or other open space area, you must follow any restrictions that the local authorities or managers have in place for that area. These restrictions might include measures like closing parking areas, restricting car access, limiting the number of visitors, or closing the area to public access entirely.
  • You are not allowed to use recreational areas with high-touch equipment or areas for gathering outside of your residence. This includes playgrounds, picnic and barbecue areas, dog parks, and outdoor gym equipment.
  • Governments and other entities that manage recreational areas must close off public access to gathering areas and areas with high-touch equipment.
  • You are not allowed to use shared recreational facilities outside of your residence, such as golf courses, basketball courts, tennis and pickle ball courts, rock parks, climbing walls, pools, spas, shooting and archery ranges, gyms, and disc golf.
  • Governments and entities that manage shared recreational facilities must close them to public access.
  • You are allowed to engage in sports or activities that use shared equipment only with members of your own household.

For Businesses:

  • New Requirements for All Essential Businesses:
    • Before Friday, April 3, 2020, essential businesses that continue to operate facilities in the County must create, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocolfor each facility frequented by employees or the public, using the template attached to the Order. Essential businesses must also provide a copy of their Social Distancing Protocol to all employees and must provide evidence of its implementation to any authority enforcing the Order on demand.
    • Essential businesses must maximize the number of employees who can work from home. Only those employees who cannot perform their job duties from home may work outside their homes.
    • Businesses with both essential and non-essential components must scale down operations to only the essential components. However, retail outlets that sell a significant proportion of essential goods like food, hygiene, and consumer household products may keep open to the public (and stock) the portions of their retail storefronts dedicated to non-essential products.
    • Essential businesses must follow industry-specific guidance issued by the Health Officer related to COVID-19.
  • Removals from the List of Essential Businesses:
    • Businesses that supply products needed for people to work from home no longer qualify as essential businesses.
  • Additions to the List of Essential Businesses:
    • Service providers that enable residential transactions, including real estate agents, escrow agents, notaries, and title companies. Residential viewings may only occur virtually, or if virtual viewing is impossible and the residence is unoccupied, by appointment with no more than two visitors from the same household and one person showing the unit.
    • Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums.
    • Services to assist individuals in finding employment with essential businesses.
    • Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves allowed by the Order.
    • Rental car companies and rideshare services (including shared bicycles and scooters) providing services necessary for Essential Activities.
  • Clarifications to the List of Essential Businesses:
    • Retailers that sell non-alcoholic beverages are essential businesses.
    • Establishments that sell multiple categories of specified essential products (unprepared food, pet supplies, hygienic products, and household consumer products necessary for sanitation, habitability, or operation of residences) are essential businesses if they sell a significant amount of those essential products. This includes, for instance, a liquor store that sells a significant amount of food.
    • Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals are essential businesses, but only to provide services necessary to maintain the safety and healthy operation of a business or residence. This means they can provide services for fire prevention like weed abatement. But they cannot provide services that are cosmetic or that constitute general upkeep.
    • Gas stations, auto-supply, and auto-repair businesses, and auto dealerships may operate only to provide auto-supply and auto-repair services (and not, for example, car washes or onsite car sales).
    • Businesses that supply products needed by other essential businesses may continue operating to supply those essential businesses. But they are prohibited from providing curbside pickup or onsite sales to members of the general public.
    • Businesses are prohibited from operating facilities to manufacture or assemble non-essential products.
    • Childcare facilities may only operate to provide childcare to children or dependents of workers exempt under the Order, including volunteers and contractors (e.g. employees of essential businesses, workers who must leave their residence to perform minimum basic operations, and workers performing essential governmental functions). Non-exempt workers cannot use childcare facilities.
  • Clarifications for Non-Essential Businesses:
    • Non-essential businesses may deliver existing inventory directly to residences or other businesses.
    • Minimum basic operations include activities necessary to maintain the safety and sanitation of the business, as well as previously listed functions.

Essential Infrastructure:

  • Essential infrastructure is clarified to include solid waste facilities (including collection, removal, disposal, and processing facilities), cemeteries, mortuaries, and crematoriums.
  • The Order removes public works construction and construction of housing from the list of essential infrastructure. Construction is restricted to the types of projects described below.

Construction:

  • Construction is restricted to the following types of projects:
    • Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of essential infrastructure. This means that construction related to essential infrastructure is not allowed if the infrastructure will not be ready for an extended period of time. The expansion of an infrastructural facility that will not be completed for a year, for example, is not fulfilling an immediate need.
    • Projects associated with healthcare operations, but only if the construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response.
    • Affordable housing, including multi-unit or mixed-use development with at least 10% income-restricted units. Other residential construction is not permitted.
    • Public works projects, but only if they are specifically designated as an essential governmental function by the lead governmental agency.
    • Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels.
    • Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to those experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs.
    • Construction strictly necessary to ensure that a site that is shut down under this Oder is safe and secure.
    • Construction or repair necessary to ensure that a residence or a building containing essential businesses is safe, sanitary, and habitable if that work cannot be reasonably delayed.

Social Distancing Requirements:

  • The Order expands and clarifies the list of social distancing requirements. These requirements now include:
    • Maintaining at least six-foot social distancing from other individuals who are not part of your household;
    • Frequently washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer recognized by the CDC to be effective in combatting COVID-19;
    • Covering cough and sneezes with a tissue or fabric or, it that’s not possible, coughing or sneezing into your sleeve or elbow (not into your hands); and
    • Avoiding all social interaction outside your home when you’re sick with a fever or cough.
  • Social distancing requirements are mandatory, except between members of the same family or living unit. Everyone must strictly comply with the social distancing requirements when they’re not in their home unless the Order specifically allows otherwise. Exceptions are for activities where strict social distancing is impossible or inadvisable, like:
    • When providing care (including childcare, adult or senior care, care to individuals with special needs, and patient care);
    • When the work of essential businesses, essential governmental functions, or provision of minimum basic operations requires some amount of closer contact;
    • By transit agencies and people riding on public transit, when strict compliance is impossible.

Enforcement:

  • The Order clarifies that it can be enforced by law enforcement and also through civil remedies:
    • Failure to comply with the requirements is a misdemeanor punishable by fine, imprisonment, or both.
    • Violation of the Order constitutes a public nuisance and a violation of the County Ordinance Code. The County may take appropriate actions to stop businesses from violating the Ordinance, including obtaining a temporary restraining order and pulling an applicable permit or revoking an applicable license.

Additional Clarifications:

  • Residences include both the living structures and outdoor spaces associated with them, such as patios, porches, backyards, and front yards that are only accessible to a single family or household unit.


Frequently Asked Questions

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Shelter in Place Explained

What does the Superseding Order do?

This new Order requires that most people continue sheltering in their place of residence until May 3, 2020. This new Order replaces the prior Shelter-in-Place Order, which was set to expire on April 7, 2020. It also adds to the list of restrictions to slow the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

You are still allowed to participate in “essential activities” or to work for an “essential business” if it is not possible for you to work from home. This means that you are allowed to leave your home for specified reasons—like to make sure you have the necessities of life (discussed more below) such as getting food and medical supplies, or to perform work for an essential business that you cannot complete from your home. You are also allowed to go outside to take care of a pet or for exercise so long as you don’t congregate in a group and maintain at least six feet of distance between you and other people who aren’t part of your family or living unit.

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.

I work for an Essential Business, as defined by the new Order. Do I need to have a letter from my employer or other documentation to travel?

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

What does it mean to “shelter in place?”

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

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

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

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 “essential activities,” to work for an “essential business,” to perform “minimum basic operations” for your employer, or for “essential travel,” as those terms are defined in the new Order (you can also see the FAQs for details)
  • Cannot host or attend any gatherings

You should also 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), and stay home if you are sick.

 

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Daily Activities

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

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

Can common recreational spaces in apartment buildings (like gyms and roof decks) stay open?

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

What about common areas in apartments, like shared laundry rooms, that residents need to access for sanitation needs?

Apartment residents should be allowed to access facilities that are required for household cleaning and sanitation needs. Owners of apartment buildings must enhance 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), and avoiding using the laundry facility if they are sick.

Can I still get my mail and deliveries?

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

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

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

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

Yes.

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

No. You will continue to be able to purchase 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.

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

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

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

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

How can I buy non-essential products if stores are closed?

Most items can be ordered online and delivered to your home, and many other non-essential items may be available from retailers who primarily sell essential items.

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

No. Entertainment venues are not allowed to operate.

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

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

Can I walk my dog?

Yes, but you cannot use dog parks. Be sure that you distance yourself at least six feet from others who are not part of your household

Can I take my dog to the dog park?

No. Dog parks are areas that encourage people to gather together, and are required to close.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Self-storage facilities are not essential businesses but that they can maintain minimum business operations and allow people to access their units to the extent they are accessing them for medical or other essential needs.

 

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Healthcare Operations

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

If you are feeling sick, first call your doctor, a nurse hotline, or an urgent care center before going to the hospital. Do not go to the emergency room of a hospital unless you are having an actual emergency. But 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. Call 911 or go to an emergency room if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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. With the exception of dental services, preventive and non-urgent care should generally not be deferred (please see the following FAQ regarding dental services).  Many visits involve exams or procedures that must be done in person, but practitioners are encouraged to conduct appointments remotely via phone or telemedicine when it is appropriate and feasible to do so.

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

No.  As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), dental facilities should postpone elective procedures, surgeries, and non-urgent dental visits, and prioritize urgent and emergency visits.  You should contact your dentist to inquire about whether a dental service is urgent or should be deferred. Dentists should refer to guidance that is available on the CDC website at: https://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol/statement-COVID.html.

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

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
  • If you are experiencing an emergency please call 911 immediately.

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 health 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 non-related individuals picking up food from or eating in the facility. Hospital cafeterias should increase cleaning and sanitization to minimize risk of exposure and follow other Social Distancing Requirements specified in the Order to the maximum extent feasible. Cafeterias in all other facilities must follow the requirements in the Order – specifically, food can be carried out or delivered, but cannot be eaten in the cafeteria.

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

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

I work in a hospital or medical clinic, but I’m not sure I’m essential. Should I continue to work? What if I’m over 60?

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 60 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 only for the purpose of obtaining health care services and supplies. Non-essential visitations are barred. Do not visit a nursing home, skilled nursing facility, or residential care facility other than for the purpose of securing care. People over 60 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, and coughing or sneezing into a tissue.

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

If you work for an essential business, as described in the Order, you can and should continue to work. Certain employers, schools, and community organizations will be providing childcare for employees of essential businesses. You may also employ a nanny or babysitter to provide home-based care for your kids.

Does this Order require that schools shut down?

This Order requires that all schools stop holding classes at physical locations within the County. Schools can still provide distance learning to their students. Employees of schools may go to work for the purpose of providing distance learning to their students, but they must comply with social distancing requirements while at work. Schools can also continue to offer students free and reduced-price lunches for takeaway, which many schools are doing.

Are daycare facilities allowed to operate?

Yes, but only to allow children of owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for essential businesses, essential governmental functions, or for carrying out minimum basic operations to work. Children of other workers who are not exempt under the Order cannot attend daycare.

Also, any daycare facility operating to serve children of essential workers need to comply with these mandatory conditions in the Order to the extent possible:

  1. Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
  2. Children shall not change from one group to another.
  3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
  4. Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

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

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.

 

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Businesses

Will all business offices and stores be required to close?

No. “Essential businesses” may keep their facilities open (and are strongly encouraged to keep them open) to continue providing essential services and products to the public. Employees may leave home to go to these jobs. But all businesses, including essential ones, are required to maximize the number of employees working from home and bring in only those employees who can’t carry out their job duties from home. Non-essential businesses must cease all activities at their facilities within the County, except to provide minimum basic operations, such as maintaining the value of a business’s inventory, keeping the business site safe and secure, ensuring that employees are able to work remotely, or providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses. Employees may otherwise work from home.

What are “Essential Businesses”?

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

  1. Healthcare Operations and businesses that operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure;
  2. Grocery stores, certified farmers’ markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of unprepared food, canned food, dry goods, non-alcoholic beverages, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, as well as hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene or the habitability, sanitation, or operation of residences. The businesses included in this subparagraph (ii) include establishments that sell multiple categories of products provided that they sell a significant amount of essential products identified in this subparagraph, such as liquor stores that also sell a significant amount of food.
  3. Food cultivation, including farming, livestock, and fishing;
  4. Businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals;
  5. Construction, but only of the types listed in this subparagraph below:
    1. Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
    2. Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
    3. Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
    4. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
    5. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
    6. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
    7. Construction necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
    8. Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed;
  6. Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services;
  7. Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair (including, but not limited to, for cars, trucks, motorcycles and motorized scooters), and automotive dealerships, but only for the purpose of providing auto-supply and auto-repair services (and not, by way of example, car sales or car washes). This subparagraph (vii) does not restrict the on-line purchase of automobiles if they are delivered to a residence or Essential Business;
  8. Bicycle repair and supply shops;
  9. Banks and related financial institutions;
  10. Service providers that enable residential 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 still residing in the residence);
  11. Hardware stores;
  12. Plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the habitability, sanitation, and operation of residences and Essential Businesses, but not for cosmetic or other purposes;
  13. Arborists, landscapers, gardeners, and similar service professionals, but only to the limited extent necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition), and not for cosmetic or other purposes (such as upkeep);
  14. Businesses providing mailing and shipping services, including post office boxes;
  15. Educational institutions—including public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities—for purposes of facilitating distance learning or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible;
  16. Laundromats, drycleaners, and laundry service providers;
  17. 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;
  18. Funeral home providers, mortuaries, cemeteries, and crematoriums, to the extent necessary for the transport, preparation, or processing of bodies or remains;
  19. 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;
  20. 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;
  21. 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;
  22. Home-based care for seniors, adults, children, and pets;
  23. Residential facilities and shelters for seniors, adults, and children;
  24. Professional services, such as legal, notary, or accounting services, when necessary to assist in compliance with non-elective, legally required activities;
  25. Services to assist individuals in finding employment with Essential Businesses;
  26. Moving services that facilitate residential or commercial moves that are allowed under this Order;
  27. Childcare facilities providing services that enable owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors for Essential Businesses, Essential Governmental Functions, or Minimum Basic Operations to work as allowed under this Order. Children of owners, employees, volunteers, and contractors who are not exempt under this Order may not attend childcare facilities. To the extent possible, childcare facilities must operate under the following conditions:
    1. Childcare must be carried out in stable groups of 12 or fewer (“stable” means that the same 12 or fewer children are in the same group each day).
    2. Children shall not change from one group to another.
    3. If more than one group of children is cared for at one facility, each group shall be in a separate room. Groups shall not mix with each other.
    4. Childcare providers shall remain solely with one group of children.

What if my business is not considered an essential business? Does this Order require that I shut down my business facility?

Yes, it does, except for the following “Minimum Basic Operations,” which are defined in the following excerpt from the Order:

  1. 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.
  2. 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, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), 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 a fever or cough.

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

No. But most employees of these companies need to work from home. The only employees of these companies who can go to work are: (i) employees who are needed to maintain the minimum basic operations described in the Order; or (ii) employees who are needed to work onsite to operate, maintain, or repair Essential Infrastructure (i.e., essential global, national, and local infrastructure for internet, computing services, business infrastructure, communications, and web-based services for the community) and who cannot perform their work duties from home.

Any employees who are onsite must strictly follow the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another (unless incompatible with the job duty), 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 a fever or cough.

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, dentists, pharmacies, blood banks and blood drives, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, and veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals.

Can my company tend to its labs under this Order?

It depends. Your lab may operate only if it performs work that is exempted in the Order. Otherwise, you and your employees are allowed to perform only minimum basic operations onsite at your workplace, and must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, 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 a fever or cough. Other than that, employees cannot be onsite at your lab locations.

Are non-profit organizations allowed to continue operating?

Yes, if they provide essential services as described in the Order. This would include non-profits operating food pantries, providing housing for homeless residents, and providing other critical services. Non-profit organizations that do not provide essential services 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.

Unless closer contact is necessary for their work, all employees must strictly comply with the Order’s social distancing requirements, including maintaining a distance of six feet from one another, 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 a fever or cough. Other than that, employees cannot be onsite at your lab locations.

What if some of the work my business does at its facility is essential and some is non-essential?

Businesses that include an Essential Business component at their facilities alongside non-essential components must scale down their in-person operations to the Essential Business component only. For instance, if 20% of manufacturing capacity in your business is devoted to essential products, and 80% of capacity is devoted to non-essential products, you can only operate at 20% capacity. The one exception to this rule is that retail businesses that sell a significant amount of essential products like food, personal hygiene, and consumer household products may keep their entire retail storefronts open even if some of the products they sell are non-essential.

I operate a “big box store” that sells some clothing in addition to groceries and personal hygiene products. Can I keep open the part of my store that sells clothing?

Yes. If your store sells a significant amount of groceries and hygiene products, you can keep your entire store open.

I operate a store that mainly sells non-essential goods, but also sells a small amount of essential goods like food and hygiene products. Can I continue to sell products to customers at my storefront?

No. If you do not sell a significant amount of goods like food, hygiene, or cleaning products, you cannot keep your storefront open. Your store can deliver items directly to customers’ residences. Other than that, you can only maintain minimum basic operations, such as store security and safeguarding your inventory.

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

Many businesses are not allowed to operate under this Order. Essential businesses, as defined in the Order, are allowed (and encouraged) to continue operating. If your work is not an essential business, you are not allowed to go to work and your employer cannot make you go except for limited minimum basic operations such as maintaining the value of a business’s 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 so – if your work allows it.

Can bike repair shops continue to operate?

Yes, bike repair shops are treated as 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. 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?

Follow the best practices for allowable food facility operations included in the Department of Environmental Health’s “COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities”:

Risk Mitigation Measures for Food Facilities [PDF]

Read the Department of Environmental Health’s Letter advising on the effects of the Order on food facilities:

Notice for Food Facilities - English [PDF]

Documents available for notice to food facilities in other language​s:

Notice for Food Facilities - Chinese [PDF]

Notice for Food Facilities - Spanish [PDF]

Notice for Food Facilities - Tagalog [PDF]​

Notice for Food Facilities - Vietnamese [PDF]


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

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

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

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

Can I operate my liquor store?

You may keep your liquor store open if it also sells a significant amount of products like food, and household cleaning and personal hygiene items.

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.

Can warehouses and distribution centers that supply essential businesses stay open?

Yes, but only to the extent they support or supply those essential businesses. Warehouses and distribution centers should minimize the number of employees onsite and strictly comply with all social distancing requirements in the Order.

I operate a large retail store selling largely non-essential items, but we also sell some goods that essential businesses need to operate. Can I keep my retail store open as an essential business that supplies other essential businesses?

No. Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies they need to operate can remain open only for the purpose of supplying those essential businesses. They cannot stay open to keep making sales to the general public from retail storefronts.

What if I want to go to work at a physical location in the County and I’m not sick?

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

I operate a business that is required to close—can my business deliver things to people’s homes?

Yes, non-essential businesses may maintain minimum basic operations. This includes making deliveries of existing inventory to people’s homes.

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

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?

Arborist, landscaping, and gardening services can continue only if they are necessary to maintain the habitability, sanitation, operation of businesses or residences, or the safety of residents, employees, or the public (such as fire safety or tree trimming to prevent a dangerous condition). Landscaping services for cosmetic purposes or general upkeep have to stop.

Landscapers and other professionals performing services under contract with governmental agencies should consult the relevant agency to determine whether their services are deemed essential.

Can home service workers continue to provide their services?

Home service workers can keep providing services in homes if they are essential to health, safety, sanitation, or the necessary operation of the home. Generally, this means that plumbing, pest control, important maintenance (to, for example, fix a water leak or a faulty wire), or similar services needed to maintain a safe and sanitary home are allowed. Purely cosmetic or other non-essential home services for general upkeep are not allowed and should be put off. Home-based care for children, adults, seniors, and pets is also allowed under the Order.

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

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

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

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

Can real estate agents show residences in person? Or if I just closed on a home, can I do a walk-through of the home with the agent or seller?

Generally, no. Real estate agents, escrow agents, and other service providers that facilitate residential transactions like home sales and apartment rentals are essential workers, but all appointments and viewings must happen virtually (via video or livestream). Only if a virtual viewing is 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 unit. In-person showings or walk-throughs are not allowed when the occupant is still living in the residence.

Can notaries public continue to operate?

Yes.

Can title insurance companies continue to operate?

Yes.

Are cannabis dispensers and growers allowed to operate?

Medical dispensaries can dispense under healthcare industry exemptions. Suppliers to medical dispensaries and licensed medical growers can operate as well. Non-medical cultivation, supply, and dispensing of cannabis are prohibited, with the exception of deliveries directly to residences. Dispensaries with a mixed clientele of both medical and non-medical customers can do in-person business only with medical customers.

Can recreational cannabis be purchased on a “take-out” basis?

No.

Can I have cannabis delivered to my home?

Yes. The Order allows businesses to deliver products to people’s residences.

Can auto dealerships sell cars online and deliver them to people’s homes?

Yes. The Order allows businesses to deliver products to people’s residences.But car dealerships cannot sell or lease cars in-person.

Can gun shops selling firearms and ammunition continue to keep their storefronts open?

No. Gun shops are not essential businesses under the Order. The Order allows delivery of inventory directly to customers at their residences in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, but gun shops may not make sales from their storefronts.

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

Yes, cemeteries are essential infrastructure.

Are funeral home providers and mortuaries allowed to continue operating?

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

Can my business keep manufacturing and selling beauty products?

No.  Businesses engaged in the retail sale of hygienic products and household consumer products necessary for personal hygiene, as well as businesses that supply those retailers, are essential businesses.  Beauty products do not fall within the exemption.  A business that makes and sells beauty products can arrange for shipping or delivery of its existing inventory directly to residences or businesses as part of allowable minimum basic operations, but it cannot continue manufacturing these products within the County.

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

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

Can plant nurseries stay open? 

No.  Plant nurseries are not essential businesses.  Employees may only report to these facilities to carry out minimum basic operations, like securing the facility, maintaining the value of the inventory (such as watering the plants), and providing for the delivery of existing inventory to residences or businesses.  

 

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Construction and Essential Infrastructure

Can commercial construction projects go forward?

The Order allows only the following kinds of construction projects to move ahead:

  1. Projects immediately necessary to the maintenance, operation, or repair of Essential Infrastructure;
  2. Projects associated with Healthcare Operations, including creating or expanding Healthcare Operations, provided that such construction is directly related to the COVID-19 response;
  3. Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
  4. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
  5. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
  6. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;
  7. Construction strictly necessary to ensure that existing construction sites that must be shut down under this Order are left in a safe and secure manner, but only to the extent necessary to do so; and
  8. Construction or repair necessary to ensure that residences and buildings containing Essential Businesses are safe, sanitary, or habitable to the extent such construction or repair cannot reasonably be delayed;

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, 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).

Can my business expand a data center that houses computer servers to ensure that we can maintain existing service levels during a period of increased demand?

Yes, if the construction is immediately necessary to maintain the operation of essential computer or internet infrastructure.

Are there any kinds of special protocols I need to comply with if I’m running an active construction site?

Yes. All construction sites must comply with the COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines, which are available here: COVID-19 Construction Field Safety Guidelines [PDF].

Can my company continue construction on a healthcare facility?

Yes, if the construction on the healthcare facility is directly related to the COVID-19 response, such as creating or expanding Healthcare Operations that are directly needed to provide COVID-19-related health care.

I run a construction company that builds affordable and market rate housing. Can we continue to build new units?

You can construct only the following kinds of housing:

  1. Affordable housing that is or will be income-restricted, including multi-unit or mixed-use developments containing at least 10% income-restricted units;
  2. Public works projects if specifically designated as an Essential Governmental Function by the lead governmental agency;
  3. Shelters and temporary housing, but not including hotels or motels;
  4. Projects immediately necessary to provide critical non-commercial services to individuals experiencing homelessness, elderly persons, persons who are economically disadvantaged, and persons with special needs;

You cannot otherwise continue construction of market-rate housing, except (i) to ensure that your existing construction sites are left in a safe and secure manner while they are shut down in compliance with this Order; or (ii) to engage in construction or repair necessary to ensure that existing market-rate housing is safe, sanitary, and habitable if that construction or repair cannot be delayed.

I have a contractor scheduled to begin a remodel next week. Can I go ahead with this project?

You must defer your remodel or renovation project unless it is necessary to restore your home to a safe, sanitary, and habitable space and cannot reasonably be delayed.

I am midway through a remodel. Can my construction project continue?

Residential remodeling projects that are partly completed can continue if delaying completion would pose a safety, security, or sanitation risk to residents or impact the habitability of the residence; otherwise, they must be deferred.

I have a construction project that will sustain damage if I do not continue work on it. Can I complete the project if it is not related to provision of healthcare, housing, or essential infrastructure?

You can perform work on the site only to ensure it is safe and secure while it is shut down in compliance with this Order. This includes sending employees to the construction site to secure the site and ensure it does not sustain damage. You can continue construction on the project onlyif strictly necessary to prevent damage to the project, e.g. completing a roof or ensuring that there is proper drainage after grading has been completed.

Who makes the determination about whether public works projects are essential?

Public works construction is permissible if the lead governmental agency for the project determines that it is essential.  It is up to the lead governmental agency (i.e., the city, county, state, federal government, special district, etc.) to decide the process for making that designation.  The governmental agencies involved in the project should decide amongst themselves which agency is serving as the lead governmental agency.

My business is building a residential project and has paid in lieu fees to cover affordable housing—can my project continue?

No, the Order allows only construction of income-restricted units, or multi-unit or mixed-use developments that contain at least 10% income-restricted units. Payment of in lieu fees does not qualify a project as affordable under the Order.

I own a restaurant – Can I do renovation work like expanding the kitchen or dining area?

No. If immediate needs arise, you may do limited repair work necessary to make the facility safe or sanitary. But you cannot do non-essential construction work on your food facility, like remodeling a kitchen or expanding the dining area.

Can quarries continue to operate under the Order?

Quarries can continue to operate in order to supply materials necessary for the operation and maintenance of Essential Infrastructure or for construction activities allowed under the Order. All quarries must comply with social distancing requirements set forth in the Order to the greatest extent feasible.

 

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Government Operations

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

Governmental entities are strongly encouraged to complete Social Distancing Protocols for each of their facilities that remain open for any essential governmental functions, though 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 protocol where it is publicly visible, and distribute the protocol to its employees.

Is the local government shutting down?

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Travel and Recreation

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

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

  1. Travel to provide or access Essential Activities, Essential Governmental Functions, Essential Businesses, or Minimum Basic Operations.
  2. Travel to care for any elderly, minors, dependents, or persons with disabilities.
  3. Travel to or from school to get materials for distance learning, to pick up meals, and to access any related services.
  4. Travel to return home from outside the County.
  5. Travel required by law enforcement or a court order.
  6. Travel required for non-residents to leave the County and go back home.
  7. Travel to manage after-death arrangements and burial.
  8. Travel to arrange for shelter or avoid homelessness.
  9. Travel to avoid domestic violence or child abuse.
  10. Travel for parental custody arrangements.
  11. Travel to a place to temporarily reside in a residence or other facility to avoid potentially exposing others to COVID-19, such as a hotel or other facility provided by a governmental authority for such purposes.

When you are on public transit, you must 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 a fever or cough.

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 to perform essential activities or essential government functions, operate an essential business, or perform minimum basic operations at a non-essential business, as those terms are defined in the Order. You can also leave to go back home or engage in other essential travel. Otherwise, the answer is no because that puts you and others in the community at risk. Keep in mind that Health Officers in neighboring counties have issued the same or similar shelter-in-place orders.

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

Yes, the Order allows you to come home.

I’m staying overnight in 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 and activities to "essential travel" and "essential activities," as those terms are defined in the Order.  People are not allowed, for instance, to travel into the County to visit friends or sightsee.  They are also not allowed to move into a new residence unless they need to because the move was already planned, because they need to access shelter or avoid a sanitation issue with their home, or to avoid exposing others to COVID-19.

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, and avoiding all social interaction outside the household when sick with a fever or cough.

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 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 a fever or cough.

Can I leave home to work out?

If you will be outdoors and not in close contact with other people or using equipment that other people outside your household have touched, yes. Otherwise, no. Fitness centers, gyms, recreational centers, fitness equipment at parks, climbing walls, golf courses, tennis courts, basketball courts, swimming pools, and other shared sports facilities are closed.

Can I take my kids to the playground?

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

 

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Last updated: 4/6/2020 5:14 PM