Throughout California on Monday, stay at home orders were lifted, meaning counties including Santa Clara can now return to the tiered, color-coded COVID-19 classification system, in which most counties still qualify as Purple, the strictest level, meaning the virus remains “widespread.”
The shift means more businesses can become operational, so outdoor dining is now set to resume. Likewise, gyms, hair salons, and nail salons are permitted to reopen by the state, with modifications to ensure pandemic safety compliance. Perhaps most notable will be the absence of the 10pm to 5am curfew, wherein people were restricted from all nonessential activity during those hours. But precise business reopening allotments are to be determined at the county level, with Los Angeles in particular being expected to keep things tight (Santa Clara County’s exact changes are listed down below).
Santa Clara County has seen improvements, though, and officials today credited people’s adherence to the stay at home rules with the improvement. Although Bay Area ICU capacity currently remains below 15%, the level that initially spurred the stay at home orders late last year, state modeling systems project that percentage will rise in the next four weeks, meaning the COVID-19 holiday surge is now detectably on the downswing.
In the meantime, as county healthcare workers continuously get vaccinated, hospital and clinic staffing is becoming more stable and predictable.
To date, 2,199,908 Californians have been vaccinated, the most of any state in the country, though health officials warn people against growing complacent, and continue to urge mask-wearing, social distancing, avoidance of crowds, avoidance of travel, and consistent washing of hands.
Per the County’s press release, here are the changes effective as of today, January 25:
—Outdoor dining may resume, subject to the Mandatory Directive for Dining. Indoor dining remains prohibited. Bars, breweries, distilleries, and pubs may serve alcohol only outdoors and only in the same transaction as a meal.
—Personal care services may resume indoors and outdoors, subject to the Mandatory Directive for Personal Care Services.
—Professional and collegiate sports may resume, subject to the updated Mandatory Directive for Collegiate and Professional Sports.
—Adult recreational sports activities may resume subject to the updated Mandatory Directive for Gatherings, including specific rules in Section 9 of that Directive.
—Youth sports may resume subject to the State’s guidance applicable to those activities, as well as the County’s Mandatory Directive for Programs Serving Children and Youth.
—Most businesses that are allowed to open indoor operations to the public must limit capacity of their publicly accessible space to 20%. The County’s Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations has been updated to reflect current openings and closings.
—Outdoor gatherings with up to three households are now allowed for any purpose. Larger outdoor gatherings with up to 200 people are allowed only for political, religious, or ceremonial purposes, or as otherwise specifically allowed by the State. Indoor gatherings of any kind remain prohibited. All allowed gatherings must comply with the County’s updated Mandatory Directive for Gatherings.
—The County’s Mandatory Directive on Travel, which requires most people who travel into the county from more than 150 miles away to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival, is still in effect.
—The County’s Mandatory Directive for Lodging Facilities is still in effect. Lodging facilities may not provide lodging services for non-essential purposes, such as tourism, recreational, or leisure purposes.
—Non-essential travel should be avoided, especially in light of new variants of COVID-19 that are circulating globally and in the United States.
Key rules remain in effect and applicable to all businesses:
—Telework: All businesses must continue to require workers to do their jobs from home whenever possible. Workers can go into work only to complete the job duties they can’t complete from home.
—Social Distancing Protocol requirements: All businesses must complete and submit a Revised Social Distancing Protocol for each of their facilities on the County’s website at COVID19Prepared.org. Social Distancing Protocols submitted prior to October 11, 2020 are no longer valid. The Revised Social Distancing Protocols must be filled out using an updated template for the Social Distancing Protocol at COVID19Prepared.org.
—Positive case reporting: All businesses (and governmental entities) are legally required to report to the Public Health Department within 4 hours if they learn that any of their workers are confirmed to be positive for COVID-19. They must also ensure workers alert them if they test positive.
—Capacity Limitation and Metering: All businesses must comply with applicable capacity limitations. All businesses (except for acute care hospitals) with indoor facilities open to the public must establish a “metering system” to ensure that the applicable capacity limits are not exceeded by, for example, posting an employee at the facility entrance to track the number of people entering and exiting.
—Indoor Breakroom Closure: All businesses (except acute care hospitals) must limit employees’ access to indoor workplace breakrooms as described in section 3 of the Mandatory Directive on Capacity Limitations.