State Allows Santa Clara County To Resume Reopening

State public health officials have approved Santa Clara County's application to keep outdoor dining and other non-high risk businesses to reopen. 

The decision today comes after some confusing back-and-forth over the weekend when state leaders initially denied the application, as COVID-19 cases have been on the rise across the state including Santa Clara County.

“This new order does not mean that we’re open, let’s get back to our lives,” said county health officer Dr. Sara Cody on Tuesday.  

But the state’s decision to grant the county a variance does allow more businesses to open beginning July 13. Outdoor dining can continue and gyms and hair and nail salons can resume, but those approved businesses must strictly follow all social distancing requirements, including face coverings.

“Applying for a variance and getting a variance granted does not mean that the virus is doing better or the disease is getting better. As a matter of fact, it’s doing much worse,” said County Executive Jeff Smith. “No one should get the idea that we’re moving in a positive direction with the disease. But there’s the recognition by Dr. Cody that we need to take a different perspective. Rather than focusing on businesses sectors, we need to focus on personal responsibility.”

County officials say that residents need to recognize that while they are allowed to return to some parts of normal life, it is still important to reduce risk where possible.

“If we don’t do it differently, our cases will continue to accelerate and we will be in big trouble,” Dr. Cody said. “We are trying to change behavior right here, right now and bend our curve down again.”

“We need to limit the amount of interactions we have with other people,” said Supervisor Cindy Chavez. “Not eliminated, but limited.”

Officials continue to urge the public to wear a mask, keep their distance from others, stay home if they feel sick, avoid social gatherings and remember that indoor activities are riskier than outdoor activities.