As part of a multi-county effort, Santa Clara County is instituting a new stay-at-home order as the COVID-19 pandemic barrels toward a deadly winter. Whereas yesterday Governor Gavin Newsom alerted the state to tighter mandated restrictions once a given county’s ICU bed capacity falls lower than 15%, Santa Clara County is making this move prior to its ICU capacity going that low (even though the county’s already stretched in that regard, with the Eastern and Southern sections hitting only 7% remaining ICU capacity earlier this week).
San Francisco Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragon said by way of a press release: “It takes several weeks for new restrictions to slow rising hospitalizations and waiting until only 15 percent of a region’s ICU beds are available is just too late.”
Santa Clara County Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody worded the same sentiment this way: “We cannot wait until after we have driven off the cliff to pull the emergency break.”
The county will begin complying with California’s new Regional Stay At Home order on Sunday, December 6 at 10pm. The applicable rules can be read here.
In brief, nonessential businesses including hair salons, barbershops, nail salons, personal care services, bars, and wineries will all have to close. Restaurants will have to go back to only offering takeout and delivery. Retail stores can stay in action, but at only 20% capacity. Meanwhile, there can be no private gatherings of any size intermixing households.
As for schools and critical infrastructure, if they’ve already been allowed to reopen, then they can remain so. In the meantime, the County has instituted a 14-day quarantine rule for any travelers returning here after having gone over 150 miles away. Regardless, in an effort to guard against the spread of the coronavirus, experts are strongly advising people against all forms of travel, in addition to continuing to advise regular hand-washing, mask-wearing, and social distancing.
The new Regional Stay at Home order will last until January 4, 2021.