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Santa Clara County to allow hair salons, gyms to reopen — provided they meet new social-distancing rules

Leaders say revised order marks new phase in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody gives details on the county's new health order during a press conference in San Jose on July 2. Photo by Magali Gauthier.

UPDATE: After an initial setback, Santa Clara County received the go-ahead from the state on July 6 for its plan to reopen the economy and allow hair salons and gyms to resume operations on July 13. Read more here.

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Marking a new phase in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County leaders issued an order Thursday that could allow hair salons and gyms to reopen in mid-July and that will require all businesses to strictly follow a new set of rules to ensure social distancing.

The order comes at a time when the county, much like the state at large, is seeing a steady rise in coronavirus cases. The county reported 185 new cases on Thursday and one new death, raising the total death count to 159. The increased number of hospitalizations has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to include Santa Clara County on the state's "monitoring list" of 19 counties with troubling trend lines.

Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said the order recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic will not go away any time soon. And while it could allow new business sectors to reopen on July 13, pending the state's permission, it also creates new safety requirements for all businesses.

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Under the new guidelines, businesses must continue to allow employees to telework where feasible and to move as many operations as possible outdoors. They will have to fill out and submit to the county their social-distancing protocols. They also will be required to follow density limits, with no more than one employee per 250 gross square feet of the facility and no more than one customer per 150 square feet of the space that is open to the public.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately alert the business, which would have to report it to the Public Health Department.

In introducing the measures, Cody noted that the county has seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise in recent weeks. While the county has significantly increased its testing, the numbers reflect a "true increase in the prevalence of COVID-19" — not a mere rise in detected cases resulting from more testing.

"We're at an inflection point," Cody said. "We're at a point in this pandemic where it's crystal clear that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time. So we need to adapt to a new way of being, a new way of living, that keeps us all safe and that allows us to do things that we miss and that we cherish and that we find more meaningful."

County leaders also noted that some businesses won't be able to follow the new protocols and, as such, will not reopen any time in the near future. This includes indoor dining and indoor swimming and other indoor activities in which always keeping a mask on is infeasible, county Counsel James Williams said. These activities have been shut down in Santa Clara County since March 17, when the county's first shelter-in-place order took effect.

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Rather than providing guidance for particular business sectors, the order seeks to "set a new normal for what we can expect when we enter any business facility or engage in any kind of activity," Williams said.

He also noted that businesses that promote close or large gatherings, including nightclubs, stadiums, concert venues and arenas, will remain closed.

"All activities that cannot be done with social distancing are prohibited," Williams said.

The Thursday order requires approval from the state, Williams said. If this approval is granted, hair salons, nail salons, gyms and other activities that can safely accommodate small gatherings and follow the county protocols would be allowed to reopen as soon as July 13. If the state grants the waiver after that date, these businesses would reopen at that time.

County Supervisor Mike Wasserman said he is hopeful that Newsom and his team will "recognize all the work that the people and businesses of Santa Clara County have done to reopen our remaining businesses and approve our request." The order, he said, allows additional activities to resume while setting standards to keep the community safe.

"Our businesses need to be adaptable and flexible to comply with these important new safety measures," Wasserman said. "I'm confident they will be."

Cody said the Thursday order marks the end of a "phased reopening" that has characterized the county's response since March and the beginning of "a new stage that we believe will be stable for some time." She noted that even with the recent increase in cases and state's decision to include Santa Clara County on its monitoring list (in recognition of a growing rate of hospitalizations), Santa Clara County still has fewer cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents than any other Bay Area county and any major urban area in the state.

"We need to conduct our lives a bit differently because we're in it for the long haul," Cody said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

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Santa Clara County to allow hair salons, gyms to reopen — provided they meet new social-distancing rules

Leaders say revised order marks new phase in response to COVID-19 pandemic

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Jul 2, 2020, 4:39 pm

UPDATE: After an initial setback, Santa Clara County received the go-ahead from the state on July 6 for its plan to reopen the economy and allow hair salons and gyms to resume operations on July 13. Read more here.

---

Marking a new phase in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Santa Clara County leaders issued an order Thursday that could allow hair salons and gyms to reopen in mid-July and that will require all businesses to strictly follow a new set of rules to ensure social distancing.

The order comes at a time when the county, much like the state at large, is seeing a steady rise in coronavirus cases. The county reported 185 new cases on Thursday and one new death, raising the total death count to 159. The increased number of hospitalizations has prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to include Santa Clara County on the state's "monitoring list" of 19 counties with troubling trend lines.

Sara Cody, the county's health officer, said the order recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic will not go away any time soon. And while it could allow new business sectors to reopen on July 13, pending the state's permission, it also creates new safety requirements for all businesses.

Under the new guidelines, businesses must continue to allow employees to telework where feasible and to move as many operations as possible outdoors. They will have to fill out and submit to the county their social-distancing protocols. They also will be required to follow density limits, with no more than one employee per 250 gross square feet of the facility and no more than one customer per 150 square feet of the space that is open to the public.

Employees who test positive for COVID-19 will be required to immediately alert the business, which would have to report it to the Public Health Department.

In introducing the measures, Cody noted that the county has seen the number of COVID-19 cases rise in recent weeks. While the county has significantly increased its testing, the numbers reflect a "true increase in the prevalence of COVID-19" — not a mere rise in detected cases resulting from more testing.

"We're at an inflection point," Cody said. "We're at a point in this pandemic where it's crystal clear that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time. So we need to adapt to a new way of being, a new way of living, that keeps us all safe and that allows us to do things that we miss and that we cherish and that we find more meaningful."

County leaders also noted that some businesses won't be able to follow the new protocols and, as such, will not reopen any time in the near future. This includes indoor dining and indoor swimming and other indoor activities in which always keeping a mask on is infeasible, county Counsel James Williams said. These activities have been shut down in Santa Clara County since March 17, when the county's first shelter-in-place order took effect.

Rather than providing guidance for particular business sectors, the order seeks to "set a new normal for what we can expect when we enter any business facility or engage in any kind of activity," Williams said.

He also noted that businesses that promote close or large gatherings, including nightclubs, stadiums, concert venues and arenas, will remain closed.

"All activities that cannot be done with social distancing are prohibited," Williams said.

The Thursday order requires approval from the state, Williams said. If this approval is granted, hair salons, nail salons, gyms and other activities that can safely accommodate small gatherings and follow the county protocols would be allowed to reopen as soon as July 13. If the state grants the waiver after that date, these businesses would reopen at that time.

County Supervisor Mike Wasserman said he is hopeful that Newsom and his team will "recognize all the work that the people and businesses of Santa Clara County have done to reopen our remaining businesses and approve our request." The order, he said, allows additional activities to resume while setting standards to keep the community safe.

"Our businesses need to be adaptable and flexible to comply with these important new safety measures," Wasserman said. "I'm confident they will be."

Cody said the Thursday order marks the end of a "phased reopening" that has characterized the county's response since March and the beginning of "a new stage that we believe will be stable for some time." She noted that even with the recent increase in cases and state's decision to include Santa Clara County on its monitoring list (in recognition of a growing rate of hospitalizations), Santa Clara County still has fewer cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents than any other Bay Area county and any major urban area in the state.

"We need to conduct our lives a bit differently because we're in it for the long haul," Cody said.

Find comprehensive coverage on the Midpeninsula's response to the new coronavirus by Palo Alto Online, the Mountain View Voice and the Almanac here.

Comments

resident
Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 4:51 pm
resident, Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 4:51 pm
19 people like this

Allowing more businesses to open at the same time that hospitalization rates are increasing seems a little sketchy to me. Hopefully, the hospitalization rates will turn around before July 13.


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 5:01 pm
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 2, 2020 at 5:01 pm
8 people like this

At last, a big step in the right direction. Getting people back to work in their offices has to be done. Thank you.


TimR
Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm
TimR, Downtown North
on Jul 2, 2020 at 10:25 pm
9 people like this

Big deal. I've already found a new barber shop in Menlo Park that I like and think I'll keep going to. You snooze, you lose.


Palo Altan
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2020 at 12:29 am
Palo Altan, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 3, 2020 at 12:29 am
2 people like this

Well, now you tell me. My haircut held out a really long time, but I last got it cut in January-ish, so I finally got fed up and cut it myself. It doesn't look bad but the people who cut my hair earn every penny. I really don't know another place I could get such a good cut that would last than long for $20, so I'm really crossing my fingers that they come back. I think I'll go in and just pay for a cut and come back when I need it. I don't want them to go out of business, and they aren't like high-end salons where they keep client information, etc. Wish I could get my hair cut outside.


Blanche DuBois
Midtown

on Jul 3, 2020 at 6:36 am
Name hidden, Midtown

on Jul 3, 2020 at 6:36 am

Due to violations of our Terms of Use, comments from this poster are only visible to registered users who are logged in. Use the links at the top of the page to Register or Login.


Sarah
Greenmeadow
on Jul 3, 2020 at 7:46 am
Sarah, Greenmeadow
on Jul 3, 2020 at 7:46 am
21 people like this

To resident of Downtown North: The idea was to "flatten the curve" so we wouldn't overwhelm hospitals. We did that. So well that hospital rates went down so low in SCC that medical personnel were being laid off or furloughed. Now as we open businesses, the hospital rates goes up naturally. Saying that we shouldn't open up more businesses because hospital rates have gone up a little is nonsensical. Should we only allow people to drive cars if there are zero accidents?


Adelle
Duveneck School
on Jul 3, 2020 at 8:25 am
Adelle, Duveneck School
on Jul 3, 2020 at 8:25 am
11 people like this

[Post removed.]


xbox
College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:10 am
xbox, College Terrace
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:10 am
7 people like this

[Post removed.]


Reality Check
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:31 am
Reality Check, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:31 am
15 people like this

Not really seeing how gyms and nail salons are essential businesses, but high-tech companies and schools are not.


TorreyaMan
Palo Verde
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:47 am
TorreyaMan, Palo Verde
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:47 am
27 people like this

I strongly disagree with the naysayers about Sara Cody and her associates as expressed above. They are tirelessly working on our behalf and have vastly more perspective and knowledge of this situation than the rest of us.


resident
Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:56 am
resident, Downtown North
on Jul 3, 2020 at 10:56 am
10 people like this

I read that the county wants employees of these businesses to be tested for COVID-19 at least once a month. Will there be a testing site set up in Palo Alto so they can be quickly tested even if they do not have symptoms?


Chris
University South
on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:04 pm
Chris, University South
on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:04 pm
16 people like this

Sarah and Adelle,

Did you see what happened in Texas, Florida, Arizona, SoCal?

Please stay inside your house and don’t infect the rest of us with reckless behavior.


Interpretation
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:59 pm
Interpretation, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 3, 2020 at 1:59 pm
1 person likes this

I read that the number of elective surgeries have resumed around the nation, thus the higher rate of hospitalizations. Are we sure they are counting only COVID hospitalizations?


Finally
Old Palo Alto
on Jul 4, 2020 at 1:01 am
Finally, Old Palo Alto
on Jul 4, 2020 at 1:01 am
4 people like this

Finally Dr Cody cared about people relied on paychecks and who can't work via Zoom.

Don't be like LA county, TX, FL and AZ. Remember to wear your masks and keep distancing.


CA denies
College Terrace
on Jul 4, 2020 at 5:07 pm
CA denies, College Terrace
on Jul 4, 2020 at 5:07 pm
20 people like this

According to the SJ Mercury News, CA denied Santa Clara County's expanded reopening: Web Link


Resident
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:18 am
Resident, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:18 am
1 person likes this

So which is it? Does anybody know or is anyone trying to clarify?

Seeing the Merc article above and watching several tv stations report the news, it seems like the right hand isn't talking to the left hand on this. Is this typical government bureaucracy? Does the state have a vendetta againt Santa Clara County? If we can't eat out in Palo Alto, we can always eat out in Menlo Park, or Redwood City, or elsewhere. Same for haircuts.

Since Palo Alto, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, San Jose, have closed streets to traffic to enable restaurants put tables on the street, it is about time some clarification was issues on whether that is allowed or not allowed as well as what may or may not reopen on 7/13.


Nonsensical
Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2020 at 5:48 pm
Nonsensical , Barron Park
on Jul 5, 2020 at 5:48 pm
8 people like this

Are we that much in a hurry to eat out, do hair, nails, and work out in gyms that we forgot we are in the midst of a pandemic? We just can’t wait to resume these activities immediately? Didn’t think we would feel that excited to enter a room with a “biohazard” sign on it?

Gov needs to step up and provide compensation for small businesses and ALL service workers so everyone can pause and open when it’s safe to do so. Local governments are making rash decisions to reopen due to this. It’s not helping anyone in the long run.


Anonymous
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 5, 2020 at 8:14 pm
Anonymous, Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 5, 2020 at 8:14 pm
16 people like this

I read that serious Covid cases are being transferred INTO our County and being hospitalized here. Impression they came from border with Mexico, rural Imperial County farm workers. See Los Angeles Times.
Also, San Quentin inmates are getting ill in high numbers. Some refuse to be tested - their right, apparently. Some inmates requiring hospitalization are being placed in hospitals in San Francisco, and San Mateo including Seton Medical Center (Daly City, I recall). Are any cases being brought into OUR County?
These Covid cases/illnesses and hospitalizations are being counted in SF Bay Area, but are NOT from the SF peninsula, where we live (whether PA - Santa Clara County or our nice neighbirs Menlo Park, EPA etc. in San Mateo County.


covid patient transport
College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:28 pm
covid patient transport, College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2020 at 9:28 pm
20 people like this

According to the Mercury News, overwhelmed hospitals in Imperial County (located between San Diego and the Mexicali, Mexico) are flying patients with COVID-19 to Bay Area Hospitals, including Stanford and UCSF. According to SFGate (Web Link), some of the increase in patients with COVID-19 hospitalized in Santa Clara County is believed to be due to patients from other counties seeking care in Santa Clara County hospitals. Nonetheless, the marked increase in patients with COVID-19 at Stanford and other Santa Clara county hospitals may well lead to infection of members of the Santa Clara County community (i.e. hospital staff and local essential workers), exacerbating the increase in community spread. IMO it is wise to pause reopening until the hospitalized COVID-19 patients in SCC plateaus.


covid patient transport
College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2020 at 10:01 pm
covid patient transport, College Terrace
on Jul 5, 2020 at 10:01 pm
16 people like this

Here's the Merc News link for the article entitled "Overwhelmed Southern California transferring coronavirus patients to Bay Area hospitals" Web Link


Resident
another community
on Jul 5, 2020 at 10:28 pm
Resident, another community
on Jul 5, 2020 at 10:28 pm
3 people like this

KTVU news this evening reports that Covid patients are being brought into the Bay Area to our hospitals, including Stanford. It seems that this news is being reported by many sources, but the county and the state are ignoring this fact when allowing us to reopen.

There is a vendetta, apparently, against Santa Clara County easing restrictions. This needs to be investigated. We are facing months more of not having the same easing of restrictions as our neighboring counties. This is completely unfair both to our local businesses that are struggling and the residents who are waiting to get more of our lives back.

As for those who say it is too soon, please let us know how long you are prepared to stay at home without any human interaction apart from through a screen?


hospital spread
Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2020 at 12:03 pm
hospital spread, Downtown North
on Jul 6, 2020 at 12:03 pm
9 people like this

According to the WSJ (Web Link) "Hospitals Struggle to Contain Covid-19 Spread Inside Their Walls: U.S. medical centers have reported 5,000-plus cases of patients likely catching the coronavirus once admitted for other conditions, adding to the strain of the pandemic itself." Although from humanitarian (and surely economic) reasons Stanford Hospital feels obliged to accept covid patients from Imperial County and other areas of So. Cal. this will undoubtedly lead to the spread of covid in SCC.


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