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Santa Clara County to allow curbside retail pickups starting Friday

Original post made on May 18, 2020

Book shops, clothing stores and other businesses in Santa Clara County that allow storefront pickup can start reopening Friday, provided they can limit their employee count and demonstrate their compliance with social-distancing rules.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, May 18, 2020, 2:53 PM

Comments (37)

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2020 at 3:28 pm

Ambiguous wording. What exactly is a business? Is it just retail business or can other businesses that do not interact with the public also operate? Some people are having a hard time working from home where there is always family and distractions, and need to get back to the quiet of their office.

Posted by TimR
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2020 at 4:36 pm

Why can't these additional categories of businesses just follow whatever rules hardware stores, bicycle shops, grocery stores, ice cream stores, pharmacies, etc, have been following all along? Why are there special new rules for additional businesses allowed to sell only curbside? I mean, right now I can go into Palo Alto bicycles and buy a new tire, but I can't go into Fleet Feet and buy some new running shoes (that one's in Menlo Park, but same idea). It really makes logical no sense.

Posted by YP
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 18, 2020 at 4:43 pm

Scary how an unelected official like Sara Cody has so much power to decide who can earn a living. The arbitrariness of what is essential vs non-essential business is ridiculous . Give every business guidelines on how to open and allow people to come into stores.

Why can I go into a mosh pit of costco, home depot, whole foods and not a small shop on University Avenue if they follow the same guidelines? How can you justify allowing thousands of people entering large stores and shuttering smaller businesses all together?

Seems illegal and unconstitutional , hopefully our courts well provide some sanity and slap the hands of overreach on our lives by elected or an in this case UNelected officials.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 18, 2020 at 8:04 pm

A sudden change of heart? A coincidence? Pressure put on the medical spokesperson from SCC officials?

They cynic in me is very much tempted to say that SCC just figured out that they would be losing sales dollars to San Mateo, Santa Cruz and other counties if they were doing retail and SCC residents were driving to spend, spend, spend elsewhere and taking tax dollars with them.

But then, cynicism and the truth could be closer than we think.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2020 at 8:26 pm

It’s really sad how Amazon is the big winnet.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 18, 2020 at 8:28 pm

It’s really sad how Amazon is the big winner.

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 18, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Georgia has reopened for business, including high-risk business like restaurants and salons. I hope they win this huge gamble and don't see a surge in fatalities. We should find out soon enough. If it doesn't work out so well for them, I am glad that California is being much more cautious. Web Link

Posted by Insider/Outsider
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 18, 2020 at 11:12 pm

Have no faith Cody is following the science. The curve is flattening because of shelter in place. Once It is relaxed infections rise. What’s missing? Where is the testing and is the infrastructure in place for contact tracing? Again, social distancing is what has flattened the curve.

Posted by Chris
a resident of University South
on May 19, 2020 at 12:23 am


Cody's powers are clearly spelled out in the law. What court do you thing you could find to overturn the law in the middle of the pandemic?

If you think it is scary how much power an unelected official like Cody has, how do you feel about the amount of power an elected official like Trump has. Frankly, I would rather put my life in Cody's hands.

Posted by S_mom
a resident of Community Center
on May 19, 2020 at 6:55 am

A good first step. I hope people shop enough to allow these businesses to survive.

Posted by See Link for Details
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2020 at 7:28 am

For all of you complaining about about lack of specificity in what Dr Cody says in this article, just go to the link to the complete details order included toward the beginning. All the types of businesses and activities are listed, along with timing. And much more.

Dr Cody has legal authority in all of our county over public health during a pandemic.

Posted by YentaTheRenter
a resident of Greenmeadow
on May 19, 2020 at 8:13 am

Dunno ‘bout the rest of you, but I need a curbside hair stylist!/barber! How about a new version of lunch truck - a truck that delivers a hairdresser? Now, there’s an idea for the next New Thing in business! Yes?

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 19, 2020 at 8:41 am

[Post removed.]

Posted by Going Mobile
a resident of Barron Park
on May 19, 2020 at 8:55 am

Everything should be curbside.

Then there will be no need for small businesses to pay exorbitant Palo Alto commercial rents.

The curbside dining (via food trucks) and mobile hair salons suggested above are just the first step as most services/goods can either be delivered or performed offsite.

Medical and dental treatment would probably still require a clinic and walk-i9n traffic.

On the other hand, services like automotive garage & autobody work could be performed at residencies. My Hispanic acquaintances perform much of their automotive work sans a garage and avoid paying excessive business/income taxes...a stimulus to the economy as they now have more purchasing power.

Besides, you don't travel to a plumber or carpenter when the house requires work. They come to you.

Picture a world where everything is done via telecommuting and/or delivery services.
It would be good for the environment...fewer cars = less pollution and traffic/parking gridlock.

Public libraries could also be closed as everything nowadays is available online & these facilities would no longer be havens for the homeless who frequently bathe and sleep there during hours of operation.

Adaptations to the current COVID-19 pandemic could change the American landscape for the better.

Posted by Hair
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 19, 2020 at 9:02 am

I second the need for mobile hair cutting trucks.

Great idea. If they can do it for dog grooming, then doing it for people makes sense.

Where can I sign up.

Posted by resident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 19, 2020 at 9:20 am

The problem with salons is that you are indoors in close proximity to other people for extended periods of time. This is especially hazardous to the employees who are going to be close to multiple customers every day. If there was some way to setup the salon or barber chair outdoors so the virus can disperse, that should be much safer. If restaurants are being allowed to setup tables in the street, why not salons and barber shops?

Posted by See Link for Details
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2020 at 11:04 am

Maybe a haircut isn’t really a top priority right now compared to potentially spreading this virus to your hairdresser, yourself or someone else to get sick or die to satisfy vanity? A mobile unit won’t change anything given all the touching involved unlike picking up food or other items curbside.

I say this as a woman who could use a haircut and some color to her roots.

Posted by What Will They Do Next
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 19, 2020 at 11:38 am

Trump has nothing to do with how California and its counties are running this situation. It's really tiring listening to these Trump interjections into every single conversation that happens on this site and others.

Posted by Kelly
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 19, 2020 at 11:38 am

I am extremely grateful to Dr. Cody for being cautious and data driven, balancing the needs of the local economy along with the health and safety of our community. An extremely difficult job under normal conditions, I think she has done a remarkable job during this crisis.

Posted by Out of touch council
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 19, 2020 at 12:44 pm

Kelly- what has Cody actually done? How many lives were saved by Facebook, Google, Apple, Microsoft etc, who sent their workers home 1-2 weeks before Cody acted. Why are we lagging in testing? Why on Sunday did Cody say we are not ready to move to the next phase and then 24 hours later all is okay. We can proceed. Anyone that says one day that we are in the same position as we were in March and that we cannot loosen up because there is no vaccine and then folds the next day is not that clued in to reality

Posted by Gonewest
a resident of Evergreen Park
on May 19, 2020 at 1:14 pm

Bravo!!! About time.

Posted by AdamH
a resident of Crescent Park
on May 19, 2020 at 1:46 pm


What is crazy is Fleetfeet in your example could start to sell some bike parts and be allowed to reopen full (essentially). Meanwhile folks who really had an itch to go buy clothes, or get flowers, etc., could shop at any big box store that has been fully open. Sucks to be a non diversified small business.

Wish there was a little more common sense in these orders going forward.

Posted by Gale Johnson
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 19, 2020 at 2:22 pm

I'll be out at the curb at Great Clips waiting for Ann to come out and cut my hair. There is a god.

Posted by Downfall
a resident of Fairmeadow
on May 19, 2020 at 3:36 pm

@Hair wrote: "If they can do it for dog grooming, then doing it for people makes sense."

Are you serious or being facetious? I honestly cannot tell. For a human to human transmissible virus you really don't see any difference between having a dog groomed vs a human getting a haircut? Would love to hear your reasoning behind this.

Posted by Hair
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 19, 2020 at 6:20 pm

Not facetious and not even satirical.

Dog grooming trucks are always outside homes where doggie groomers come and do the deed in front of the house.

Nothing to do with the pandemic, but why can't a similar business start by coming to homes. Seniors who are not so mobile, whole families, busy workers, a mobile hair cut truck seems like a wonderful business.

Not expecting one tomorrow, but a great business model that should be investigated. Cheaper for salon owner than paying rent.

And, since I hear that many hairdressers are doing housecalls at present since they can't work, it is not a very different scenario. As I said, not just for the pandemic, but an ongoing service.

As I said, great idea.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 19, 2020 at 8:32 pm


The reason that they can't open every single business is because that's too much. It introduces a lot more movement and opportunities to spread the virus. The goal was to open essential businesses first, and to re-open additional businesses slowly. Nothing is clear cut here. We should be grateful that they allowed more than just basic grocery stores to stay open, because if we had a real lockdown they could have closed even big box stores like Target. They had to be strict, but flexible. So yes, you were able to go to Costco and be among people there. But if you went to Costco, and then you went to a shoe store, that's adding additional driving and interaction. In general, there is more one on one interaction and contact with people and items in places like shoe and clothing stores and for a prolonged period of time. So better to let people to go to Costco or Target versus Costco + small business + clothing store + shoe store. There have to be limits to interactions put in place, unfortunately.

Posted by DTNResident
a resident of Downtown North
on May 19, 2020 at 10:00 pm

@resident, Georgia has been almost fully opened for a month (4/20). Cases have gone straight down. See the graph about 2/5ths of the way down this page from Georgia Health. There is simply no scientific basis for believing that staying shut down has had any effect. Georgia's shutdown lasted 18 days. Ours has been 75 days and it isn't over.

Web Link

Every state that has had a constitutional challenge has lost. Elon Musk was allowed to reopen because the state knew they would lose his challenge and then their desire to tank the economy might be mostly fixed by November. Why are only smaller stores being shut down? Because they haven't the ability to challenge the laws.

Posted by Wake up!
a resident of Mountain View

on May 19, 2020 at 11:01 pm

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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 1:22 am


I don't think you can compare California to Georgia, or say that SIP doesn't work

-Some of the latest data on states that have re-opened, including Georgia, was purposely made out to mislead the public and to make them look better:

Web Link

Web Link

-Santa Clara County was one of the first parts of the US to have confirmed cases of Coronavirus, with confirmed spread. Therefore, we had potential for exponential spread, and had to shut down sooner than the rest of the country. This did in fact, save many lives and slowed the spread here. We had very low amounts of community transmission in this area. A huge success.

-Santa Clara County is much more diverse than many parts of Georgia. We have a lot more travel flowing into our part of the country than they do in Georgia overall, which means we need to approach this differently and more cautiously than they do in Georgia

-Shelter in place orders that happened outside of Georgia helped to limit cases in Georgia. For example, our shelter in place order limited spread here, and therefore limited spread among people that traveled from Santa Clara County to other parts of the country as well.

-Georgia has had a significant number more deaths given the size of its population than we did in California, relative to our population. They have not been successful in how they handled this pandemic thus far.

-There are guidelines in place for re-opening, based on science and data. We are re-opening, and following metrics and guidelines. Sure, you can take a gamble on deaths and see "what happens". But Santa Clara County is taking a measured approach, by re-opening and then observing the consequences of doing so.

-Things are not going as smoothly in Georgia as you may think, and re-opening in other countries has resulted in spikes in cases. So you can't say that re-opening is suddenly "safe".

Web Link

Web Link

This is a deadly, aggressive virus that can still spread quickly within our community. I would rather follow the guidance of Dr. Cody, who knows her stuff, rather than the governor of Georgia who didn't even know that covid could spread asymptomatically until a few weeks ago.

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 7:24 am

“I can’t believe Christians think it’s safe to back to church,” said the woman standing in line at Walmart.

Posted by Wuhan Jimmy
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 7:37 am

Do you know how lucky we are that CV-19 won’t spread at grocery stores, big retailers, and hardware stores? It’s crazy how this nursing home disease only spreads at small businesses!

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 7:54 am

@Wuhan Jimmy

Your comments are silly.

The person standing in line at Walmart is likely there to purchase essential goods for survival, like food. Church is something that can be done remotely for a period of time and does not have to be done in person. People can survive without it, it's not essential.

Second, church services have been a setting where we have seen a lot of spread of this virus. Someone standing OUTSIDE to go buy groceries is at a lot lower risk. Even when they go in to the store, they are passing people quickly, with very brief interactions, while wearing a mask. At church, interactions are not brief. You are in a room with the same people for an extended period of time. Much more likely that someone will cough or sneeze or can get you sick. Especially because people are sometimes singing, talking, etc. I actually think it's safer to go shop at a store quickly than to go to church. At a place like church you are more likely to get a higher viral load of the virus, and also more likely to use public restrooms, interact closely with people.

Things like church are not essential and have been linked to outbreaks, and it's better for people to shop for groceries (essential) than to buy groceries then go to church then do this and then do that to increase interactions and exposure and thereby risk of spreading the virus

Posted by Going Mobile
a resident of Barron Park
on May 20, 2020 at 8:01 am

>> “I can’t believe Christians think it’s safe to back to church,” said the woman standing in line at Walmart.

^^^ Many devout/evangelical Christians believe that their faith is omnipotent & far more powerful than the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many devout shoppers believe that the various exigencies of non-essential shopping is also omnipotent & far more important than the COVID-19 pandemic.

This has become a public health VS a blind faith + economic stimulus issue.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 8:03 am

Silencing Wake Up is a very poor decision, in my opinion.

I can understand why you delete, edit, moderate, but a complete silencing of someone who is respectful and says things which are digging deeper into a topic is not a wise move.

We are adults, we are intelligent. If we don't like a certain post we can scroll by. If we don't like a certain poster when we see that name we can scroll by. If the facts don't make sense, then we can say so. If we find the facts are not accurate, we can post and say so with supporting links.

Please rethink what you are doing by suppressing thought and debate, when you prevent discussion and comments from this poster. Thank you.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of another community
on May 20, 2020 at 8:22 am

@Wuhan Jimmy

Obviously you are upset that small businesses are closed. The truth is that all essential businesses were allowed to remain open, and this included small businesses. A lot of small businesses were in fact, open this entire time. And many that closed did so out of personal choice, not as a requirement.

In order to limit interaction we had to close businesses. Obviously not every store could be closed because people need essential items. Therefore, stores that sell essential items were allowed to remain open. This does make sense. At least people are going to one store versus ten stores. And the purpose of Target being open isn't to sell non essential goods, and if people are buying them it's not the intention. The government could go through every aisle and only allow essential aisles to remain open or further restrict which stores are absolutely essential, but there would be additional protests as an result, similar to what happened in Michigan.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 8:27 am

Whether going to a church service is "safe" or not is not something I wish to debate. However, going to Walmart and being "safe" is something worth discussing.

Walmart is huge. It has a high number of employees working while it is open and more filling shelves and cleaning when it is not open. Each one of those employees is there for a long period of time, much longer than an average church service.

When someone goes shopping in Walmart they expect to find a full range or goods similar to before the pandemic, including toilet paper, wipes, cleaning products and other essentials, but also items that some would call non-essential. Who is to say whether an item is essential? A jigsaw puzzle or board game to help a family spend quality time together to relieve the boredom, might be essential to some and considered non-essential to others.Buying anything as a gift to give to some who is celebrating an isolation birthday and a sign of love, once again essential to some and considered non-essential to others. The ability to buy these things at Walmart as opposed to a small business that has a fewer number of employees and a smaller space to clean could arguably make a lot more sense.

To put products on the shelves of Walmart or a smaller shop, people have to work. The manufacturers, the packers, the delivery trucks, and all the support people to make these items arrive on the shelves so that a shopper can buy them. Whether it is a roll of toilet paper, a roll of gift wrap, a bag of flour, or a bag of potato chips, there are people working hard to get that item on the shelves. Whether it is on the shelf of Walmart or a small business, the item doesn't magically appear, it is there because of someone working.

And for those who say stay at home and get home delivery or buy online. The fact is that you are expecting others to be working to get that item at your home. There is of course an unmentioned arrogance in the attitude that you can stay safe at home with home delivery while others are working to get them there for you. Of course many do have reasons why going out to buy whatever items may be more dangerous for them than the rest of the general population. But anyone who remains at home, working at their normal salary, using electricity, internet, there are many others who have to work away home so that you can do that. Every time you flush your toilet, throw out your trash, and collect your mail or deliveries, you are causing others to work away from home so that they can get their income to afford to pay their bills.

The two sided attitude of those who feel that isolating at home is simple for everyone and that a desire by someone who wants to go and be part of their church community in a personal setting is being selfish, needs to really rethink their own motivation. I could easily suggest that someone earning their normal salary while working at home and expect all the same services arriving on their doorstep or at a flick of a switch, is equally selfish.

Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 20, 2020 at 1:40 pm

As for easing of restrictions. I can't honestly see that curbside pickup of non-essential items will make a big difference in our economic situation. In fact, I can't see it will make a big difference in our way of life.

We had a 3 or 4 week shelter in place order that has been extended several times. We now have a few relaxed rules, however, the majority of people are either working from home, or unable to work. We have no ability to go about daily lives. Our routines have been forced to change. Our lives are full of restrictions. Graduations, birthdays, weddings, funerals, are all impacted. Summer plans are on hold. School will be vastly different. Sports, concerts, theaters and large gatherings are banned. Middle sized gatherings from church services, kids sports and camps and outside park picnics are banned. Small gatherings of friends in backyards or living rooms, are not allowed.

In fact, anything that makes life fun, interesting, worthwhile, or recreational is no longer allowed.

If we can't live our lives, what are we doing? Life is meant to be enjoyed and it has always had risk associated with it. Preventing us from life risks would not be sensible. Preventing us from living our lives is equally not sensible.

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