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Stanford Shopping Center was a hot spot of violations when public health inspectors came calling

Nearly 20 stores fined up to $1K over Black Friday weekend for not following county health officer orders

Shoppers stroll past the many stores and restaurants at Stanford Shopping Center, pre-pandemic. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Eighteen stores in the Stanford Shopping Center were fined for violating Santa Clara County COVID-19 health orders over the Black Friday weekend, according to county documents obtained by the Weekly.

Violators included various types of businesses at the major shopping hub on El Camino Real, including the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant and Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt shop. But most stores that were fined in late November were retailers, such as Crate & Barrel, Peloton, Bath & Body Works and Tesla's showroom.

A representative for Stanford Shopping Center declined to comment for this story, and the county's public health inspector did not respond to interview requests. The violation documents were requested by the Palo Alto Weekly in early December and received from the county in early January.

The violation notices came after the county had already warned in a press release that enforcement would increase during the holiday shopping season.

"From Thursday through Sunday of this week, fines issued will not have a grace period and additional compliance staff will be visiting high traffic shopping areas to look out for the public’s safety," the Nov. 24 press release statement said.

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In addition to the countywide warning, the Stanford Shopping Center management team had given heads-up to stores about the increased enforcement efforts, according to a store supervisor of Frette, a bedding and bath linen retail store at the mall, who asked to remain anonymous.

"We were told literally the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, from mall management, that the health department was going to be here that weekend," she said. Frette was not found to have any violations.

Shoppers stroll past the many stores and restaurants at Stanford Shopping Center, pre-pandemic. Embarcadero Media file photo.

Most businesses were handed $250 fines for failing to submit a Social Distancing Protocol document, which outlines how proprietors have made sure to adjust their operation to comply with the county health officer's orders. Others failed to post "revised social distancing protocol signage," which is another $250 dollar fine.

Some stores faced up to $1,000 fines for violating multiple parts of the health order.

Marimekko, a Finnish clothing and furnishing store, for example, was required to pay at least $1,000 for not submitting the social distancing protocol document, posting appropriate signage and putting up capacity signage that shows the maximum number of people allowed in the vicinity, which is a $500 fine.

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The fines double in amount each day the violations are not corrected and can go up to $5,000 per violation each day.

All the notices of violation were issued on Nov. 27, or Black Friday, when visits to the shopping center spiked. The mall became the fourth most-visited spot in the county during the holiday shopping day.

According to foot-traffic data from SafeGraph, which was presented in a Dec. 8 county Board of Supervisor meeting, about 18,000 people visited the shopping center, representing an increase of visitors when compared to the previous four-week average.

Stores that violated county health orders include:

• Marimekko for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up required capacity signage. $1,000.

• Peloton for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

• QD Gallery for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

• Wilkes Bashford for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

'We were told literally the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, from mall management, that the health department was going to be here that weekend.'

-Store supervisor, Stanford Shopping Center tenant

• Bath and Body Works for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Brighton for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• California Pizza Kitchen for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Crate and Barrel for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Drybar for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Flexa for failing to post capacity signage. $500.

• Jamba Juice for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• L'Occitane en Provence for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Lucky Brand Dungarees for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Pinkberry for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Tesla for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Tonal for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Brooks Brothers for failing to post protocol signage. $250.

• Yucca De Lac Restaurant for failing to post protocol signage. $250.

Costco Wholesale in Mountain View was another retailer fined for violating health orders that weekend.

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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Stanford Shopping Center was a hot spot of violations when public health inspectors came calling

Nearly 20 stores fined up to $1K over Black Friday weekend for not following county health officer orders

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Mon, Jan 11, 2021, 9:39 am

Eighteen stores in the Stanford Shopping Center were fined for violating Santa Clara County COVID-19 health orders over the Black Friday weekend, according to county documents obtained by the Weekly.

Violators included various types of businesses at the major shopping hub on El Camino Real, including the California Pizza Kitchen restaurant and Pinkberry, a frozen yogurt shop. But most stores that were fined in late November were retailers, such as Crate & Barrel, Peloton, Bath & Body Works and Tesla's showroom.

A representative for Stanford Shopping Center declined to comment for this story, and the county's public health inspector did not respond to interview requests. The violation documents were requested by the Palo Alto Weekly in early December and received from the county in early January.

The violation notices came after the county had already warned in a press release that enforcement would increase during the holiday shopping season.

"From Thursday through Sunday of this week, fines issued will not have a grace period and additional compliance staff will be visiting high traffic shopping areas to look out for the public’s safety," the Nov. 24 press release statement said.

In addition to the countywide warning, the Stanford Shopping Center management team had given heads-up to stores about the increased enforcement efforts, according to a store supervisor of Frette, a bedding and bath linen retail store at the mall, who asked to remain anonymous.

"We were told literally the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, from mall management, that the health department was going to be here that weekend," she said. Frette was not found to have any violations.

Most businesses were handed $250 fines for failing to submit a Social Distancing Protocol document, which outlines how proprietors have made sure to adjust their operation to comply with the county health officer's orders. Others failed to post "revised social distancing protocol signage," which is another $250 dollar fine.

Some stores faced up to $1,000 fines for violating multiple parts of the health order.

Marimekko, a Finnish clothing and furnishing store, for example, was required to pay at least $1,000 for not submitting the social distancing protocol document, posting appropriate signage and putting up capacity signage that shows the maximum number of people allowed in the vicinity, which is a $500 fine.

The fines double in amount each day the violations are not corrected and can go up to $5,000 per violation each day.

All the notices of violation were issued on Nov. 27, or Black Friday, when visits to the shopping center spiked. The mall became the fourth most-visited spot in the county during the holiday shopping day.

According to foot-traffic data from SafeGraph, which was presented in a Dec. 8 county Board of Supervisor meeting, about 18,000 people visited the shopping center, representing an increase of visitors when compared to the previous four-week average.

Stores that violated county health orders include:

• Marimekko for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up required capacity signage. $1,000.

• Peloton for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

• QD Gallery for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

• Wilkes Bashford for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document, post protocol signage, and put up capacity signage. $1,000.

• Bath and Body Works for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Brighton for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• California Pizza Kitchen for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Crate and Barrel for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Drybar for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Flexa for failing to post capacity signage. $500.

• Jamba Juice for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• L'Occitane en Provence for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Lucky Brand Dungarees for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Pinkberry for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Tesla for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Tonal for failing to submit a social distancing protocol document and post the protocol signage. $500.

• Brooks Brothers for failing to post protocol signage. $250.

• Yucca De Lac Restaurant for failing to post protocol signage. $250.

Costco Wholesale in Mountain View was another retailer fined for violating health orders that weekend.

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

Joe
Registered user
Evergreen Park
on Jan 11, 2021 at 10:39 am
Joe, Evergreen Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 10:39 am
38 people like this

This headline borders on irresponsibly misleading: 100% of the violations in this "hot spot" involved not having their paperwork and signage in order. That's not great but when I think of health-inspection violations I think of rats and mold. In fact the lack of a single violation related to actual practices makes me wonder whether the county is really enforcing any COVID-19 regulations besides the paperwork.


Julian Gómez
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:13 am
Julian Gómez, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:13 am
4 people like this

Then why don't you find out, instead of leaving your question hanging as a "fact"? Don't depend on a website for providing 100% coverage.


Paperwork Police
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:35 am
Paperwork Police, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:35 am
31 people like this

@ Joe, I agree 100 percent.

Completely MISLEADING AND IRRESPONSIBLE headline PA Online! These were not HEALTH violations (like rats or mold). It was a lack of paperwork and signs for covid. Headline should've been "Almost 20 retailers punished for not submitting paperwork on short notice".

There are so many signs and papers posted everywhere that no one reads anything at all. It's all just a massive pile of paper on windows in every store that not a single person on the planet reads. All anyone cares about is if you're wearing mask.

Cody and her SCC Health Dept need to be dethroned and control given back to those officials who were voted in by taxpayers. It's disgusting our tax dollars are going to this type of bureacracy and enforcement, total waste of resources and punishment of retailers who are just trying to scrape by. And none of this pile of paper stops covid! Stupid on top of stupid.


WhatAboutme
Registered user
Midtown
on Jan 11, 2021 at 12:32 pm
WhatAboutme, Midtown
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 12:32 pm
6 people like this

'We were told literally the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, from mall management, that the health department was going to be here that weekend.'
-Store supervisor, Stanford Shopping Center tenant
I find it so weird that there are even 'warnings' of any inspectors or management. This concerns me when I think of food establishments.

I love how palo alto online chooses which companies to name/shame in the article. Oh, Marimekko, where employees (seem to me) to be relying on commission with their 'how Can I help you', and oh oh 'peleton'.

Readers, donate to paloaltoonline, they need YOUR (continued) support! Have you not rec'd their email solicitations --










Pam T
Registered user
Charleston Gardens
on Jan 11, 2021 at 2:26 pm
Pam T, Charleston Gardens
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 2:26 pm
21 people like this

Folks, I am a merchant a SSC, and had the correct signage posted. It's not actually the job of shopping center management to remind merchants to post - those orders come directly to the business from the county, so if you're paying attention and really want to comply with the distancing orders, you fill them out, print them and post. Most all merchants out of 130 or so did this. It's not hard to do. We want to keep staff and clients safe! In my opinion, and I'm sure many will disagree, the fines are minimal and more of a reminder to stay in the game with safety.


TimR
Registered user
Downtown North
on Jan 11, 2021 at 6:23 pm
TimR, Downtown North
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 6:23 pm
3 people like this

I sure hope the inspectors don't make a surprise visit to Foothills Park, because the COVID signage there is never in order. And I don't think it's the fault of the rangers. To me it looks like visitors take the signs down and throw them into the bushes (it hasn't be THAT windy lately). And while I agree with Paperwork Police, above, in general, sometimes people do need to read the signs.


Shwonder Sharikov
Registered user
Barron Park
on Jan 11, 2021 at 8:40 pm
Shwonder Sharikov, Barron Park
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 8:40 pm
6 people like this

[Post removed.]


chris
Registered user
University South
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:33 pm
chris, University South
Registered user
on Jan 11, 2021 at 11:33 pm
3 people like this

Stores like Whole Foods and Walgreens actually have people at the door enforcing capacity limits.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Jan 12, 2021 at 8:44 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Jan 12, 2021 at 8:44 am
9 people like this

I rely on the signage; if it is not up I know to not enter that store. I figure that if a business is lax about something as simple as signage, chances are good that business isn't sufficiently concerned about the precautions we have been asked to follow. It simply isn't a hardship to mask up, wash hands, keep 6' from others, or post a few papers indicating that you understand the protocols and are willing to comply.

Question for those who think not having the signage is not a health violation b/c it isn't something like mold or rats, how would you categorize the violation? The protocols are in place as measures to combat getting the apparently easily transmitted Covid-19 virus which has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. How is that not a legit health issue? I am as weary of all this as anyone and hope the violations will serve as a reminder for non-compliant businesses to get their act together and adopt the established best practices that the County requires. Because lives depend on that and we aren't going to return to some semblance of normal until this thing is under control.



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