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CoronavirusSanta Clara County allowed to open up more amid pandemic

Santa Clara County allowed to open up more amid pandemic

Good news, for a change, in the fight against COVID-19:

Santa Clara County, Milpitas included, is no longer on the State of California’s Tier 1 Covid level, which is marked by Purple. We’ve been moved down to Tier 2, marked by Red. If the colors sound unfamiliar, it’s because the state’s color system started less than 2 weeks ago, on August 28.

Red means Santa Clara County is still experiencing substantial viral spread. Nonetheless, a recently slowed rate of spread means we can now resume certain businesses and activities, within limits and with certain protections. New COVID-19 cases in Santa Clara County peaked in July but have lessened since then.

Below is a list of what’s allowed to reopen, it being noted that preexisting regulations and directives at the City, State, and County levels still remain in force (the stricter order always taking precedence). For example, businesses must continue to file and display Social Distancing Protocols. And Milpitas’ public face-covering order remains in effect. In the meantime…


  1. Schools can reopen—presuming our County’s case counts keep us in the Red for 14 days as of today (September 8). 
  2. Personal care services can reopen—indoors, but with modifications.
  3. Museums, zoos, & aquariums can reopen—indoors, but only at 25% capacity.
  4. Gyms & fitness centers can reopen—indoors, but only at 10% capacity.
  5. Malls can reopen—indoors, but at 50% capacity, up from the previous recent cap of 25%.


Already open are barbershops and hair salons, which got the go-ahead to reopen on August 31 yet are still operating at reduced capacity. Countywide, restaurants and cinemas can still only service customers outdoors, and indoor gatherings are still not allowed. 

In a County press release today, James R. Williams, County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara, said, “We remind our residents that all local requirements involving the number of people who can enter a facility, face covering requirements, and social distancing protocols remain in effect. It is critical that the businesses and activities that reopen today follow the public health directives so that we can maintain our community’s progress in bringing down COVID-19 transmission.”

We now wait. If the disease numbers continue to trend downward, we might advance toward a less restrictive status (Tier 3, marked by Orange, indicates moderate disease spread) in 3 weeks. On the contrary, if Covid conditions worsen, we might see restrictions tightening in under 2 weeks.

Health officials continue to emphasize the importance among all people of hand-washing, mask-wearing, social distancing, and, when possible, sheltering in place.


Eric Shapiro
Eric Shapiro is a writer and filmmaker. He has won awards for journalism (CA Journalism Award) and screenwriting (Fade In Award), and has served as a ghostwriter, speechwriter, or script doctor for over 3,000 clients. His first novel is a dark political thriller called "Red Dennis" (2020). His first nonfiction book is a guide for helping writers be more productive called "Ass Plus Seat" (2020). He co-hosts the "House of Mystery Radio Show" on NBC News Radio. In 2023, Eric founded the Psychic Arts Center, dedicated to exploring psychic phenomena and assisting people through psychic readings.


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