In an unexpected move, Santa Clara County has been moved from COVID-19’s Orange tier to its Purple tier, bypassing the Red tier in between, which had been scheduled to go into effect at midnight tomorrow, Tuesday, November 17. Now midnight will put the county, Milpitas included, into Purple for the first time since the state’s color-coding system was implemented over the summer.
Today at 2:45PM, County officials Cindy Chavez (President, Board of Supervisors), Dr. Sara Cody (Health Officer and Director of Public Health), and James R. Williams (County Counsel) addressed the public about the shift and the rising COVID-19 case count.
“Today’s announcement from the State reflects that we appear to be heading into the worst phase of the pandemic to date,” said Dr. Cody today by way of a press release. “Rapidly rising cases and hospitalizations should serve as a wake-up call for our entire community. We ask every resident to do everything they can to slow the spread of transmission in our community, protect our most vulnerable residents, and save lives.”
Our county’s Purple status represents the widespread presence of COVID-19. Red means substantial disease spread; orange means moderate; yellow means minimal.
No tier represents a worse spread than Purple.
What can remain open? Restaurants can keep their outdoor dining areas and takeout services up and running. (The same doesn’t go for bars, however, unless they happen to serve meals.) Nail salons, hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, piercing shops, and estheticians are still in business, with certain spacing modifications. Outdoor playgrounds and mini-golf courses can remain open, too, so long as those frequenting such locales do not eat or drink there. Retail shopping outlets can run at 25% capacity (down from the 50% capacity mandated by the Red tier), but this allowance doesn’t pertain to mall food courts. Pro sports can still operate, absent fans watching in the stands. Hotels and motels are still allowed to operate, too, but their fitness centers cannot open their doors. And drive-in movie theaters are still a go.
All indoor gyms, museums, zoos, aquariums, places of worship, and theaters have to close.
As for gas stations, banks, and grocery stores, these are considered critical services and shall continue to remain open to the public.
The County made note that over the past 10 days, daily levels of new COVID-19 cases have doubled. Officials urged avoiding holiday gatherings with members outside of one’s own household, as well as avoiding holiday travel. Disease prevention measures such as mask-wearing, hand-washing, and social distancing remain strongly encouraged.