News

Santa Clara County advises businesses to seek legal counsel for customer COVID-19 issues

Attorneys could help owners weigh if they can lawfully refuse service, county spokesman says

Piazza's Fine Foods in Palo Alto limits the total number of customers inside to 30. Photo taken April 9 by Magali Gauthier.

Santa Clara County officials advised business owners Wednesday to seek legal counsel rather than appealing to the county for help on what to do if customers are not respecting local and state public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

As businesses reopen in the county amid the pandemic, residents are required to follow the state's face covering mandate when indoors or in close proximity to someone who does not live in their household.

State and local public health officials also continue to advise people to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other and stay home when feeling sick.

County spokesman Todd Naffziger said a business attorney would be better fit rather than the county to help a business owner determine how they should react and whether they can legally refuse service to a customer who refuses to wear a mask or follow other health and safety rules.

"I know we all see those memes that are on social media right now of people getting pushed out of businesses," he said. "I know a lot of business owners don't want to have to be that aggressive or firm with their customers, they really hope that people can come in and follow the rules."

What's local journalism worth to you?

Support Palo Alto Online for as little as $5/month.

Learn more

Naffziger said the county also runs a business call center at 408-961-5500 that can help business owners determine the steps they must take to resume operating outside or inside.

Santa Clara County's business owners may have different operating rules this week than they did last week as well due to the state's new tiered system for reopening during the pandemic.

Santa Clara County is currently in the tier indicating the highest risk of viral transmission due to a rate of new cases higher than 7 per 100,000 residents.

"I know with our community there's going to be a lot of confusion," Naffziger said. "There's going to be a phase of transition because now we have the state providing universal guidance for California and a framework for all of us to follow."

Should the county move into the next tier by lowering its case rate, things like gyms and indoor dining would be allowed to resume at limited capacity and some in-person education would be allowed to resume.

That movement between tiers will depend on how residents control the virus' spread, Naffziger said.

"If you're going to visit a business ... please follow the rules that those businesses have set in place to protect you, as well as all the other members we have in our community," he 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.

Stay informed

Get daily headlines sent straight to your inbox.

Sign up

Follow Palo Alto Online and the Palo Alto Weekly on Twitter @paloaltoweekly, Facebook and on Instagram @paloaltoonline for breaking news, local events, photos, videos and more.

Santa Clara County advises businesses to seek legal counsel for customer COVID-19 issues

Attorneys could help owners weigh if they can lawfully refuse service, county spokesman says

by /

Uploaded: Wed, Sep 2, 2020, 4:50 pm

Santa Clara County officials advised business owners Wednesday to seek legal counsel rather than appealing to the county for help on what to do if customers are not respecting local and state public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus.

As businesses reopen in the county amid the pandemic, residents are required to follow the state's face covering mandate when indoors or in close proximity to someone who does not live in their household.

State and local public health officials also continue to advise people to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between each other and stay home when feeling sick.

County spokesman Todd Naffziger said a business attorney would be better fit rather than the county to help a business owner determine how they should react and whether they can legally refuse service to a customer who refuses to wear a mask or follow other health and safety rules.

"I know we all see those memes that are on social media right now of people getting pushed out of businesses," he said. "I know a lot of business owners don't want to have to be that aggressive or firm with their customers, they really hope that people can come in and follow the rules."

Naffziger said the county also runs a business call center at 408-961-5500 that can help business owners determine the steps they must take to resume operating outside or inside.

Santa Clara County's business owners may have different operating rules this week than they did last week as well due to the state's new tiered system for reopening during the pandemic.

Santa Clara County is currently in the tier indicating the highest risk of viral transmission due to a rate of new cases higher than 7 per 100,000 residents.

"I know with our community there's going to be a lot of confusion," Naffziger said. "There's going to be a phase of transition because now we have the state providing universal guidance for California and a framework for all of us to follow."

Should the county move into the next tier by lowering its case rate, things like gyms and indoor dining would be allowed to resume at limited capacity and some in-person education would be allowed to resume.

That movement between tiers will depend on how residents control the virus' spread, Naffziger said.

"If you're going to visit a business ... please follow the rules that those businesses have set in place to protect you, as well as all the other members we have in our community," he 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

Annette
Registered user
another community
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:53 am
Annette, another community
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 10:53 am
8 people like this

[Post removed; as noted, the photo was taken on April 9.]


Me 2
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:24 am
Me 2, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:24 am
12 people like this

"Santa Clara County officials advised business owners Wednesday to seek legal counsel rather than appealing to the county for help on what to do if customers are not respecting local and state public health guidelines to reduce the spread of the new coronavirus."

That's nonsense.

These are government rules and thus should be enforced by the them. Ridiculous abdication of responsibility by the county to have business owners take on legal costs from something they're imposing.


Tecsi
Registered user
Los Altos Hills
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:46 am
Tecsi, Los Altos Hills
Registered user
on Sep 3, 2020 at 11:46 am
15 people like this

Totally agree this is an abdication by the county. The county, not small businesses, are responsible for enforcing the law.


SCC Rules = SCC Enforcement
Registered user
Midtown
on Sep 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm
SCC Rules = SCC Enforcement, Midtown
Registered user
on Sep 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm
11 people like this

Easy solution. Ask people nicely to follow your business rules, then forget about it.

SCC is asking business owners to be vigilantes. That's wrong. SCC small business owners have shouldered way to much suffering and responsibility through this. If I were a small business owner, I'd move on and forget about whatever color tier of the day we're in. Thanks to SCC Health Dept, our county is a economic disaster and thanks to the teachers unions our kids education is destroyed. We flattened the curve after 4 weeks of a shutdown! The rest of these lockdowns (now at 6 months people!!!) and rules are ineffective (look at all of Europe) and overly destructive. WSJ ran a piece on "overly blunt and destructive lockdowns". NYT ran a piece highlighting how our tests are too senstive and over 90% of "positive" cases aren't actually cases at all! (not infectious, infinitesimal traces of the virus). Time to live our lives and stop policing each other with arbitrary SCC rules and lawyers. SCC Health Dept is destroying the fabric of our lives by replacing people's trust and friendliness with fear and suspicion and forcing people to act like the KGB enforcing ridiculous rules with their neighbors and customers.

Web Link


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Post a comment

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.