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County Cannot Reopen Personal Care Services, State Denies Reopening Plans

Last week, Santa Clara County asked the State to review their request for a county variance that would allow for a new health order. However, that request has been denied and the County cannot reopen personal care services and gyms or allow small gatherings.

According to David Campos, County Public Information Officer, the County is still having conversations with the State about the request and will keep the community informed.

Under California’s County Variance process, the reopening plan was pending as the County waited for State approval. Last week, Santa Clara County was on the State’s Monitoring List. Dr. Cody said that Santa Clara County is on the list because of a recent increase in hospitalizations, but that the hospitalization numbers remain relatively low. As of Monday, July 6, Santa Clara County was removed from the Monitoring List.

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The previous order is still in effect until a new order can be put in place. Other than the reopening plan the new order would have also put in place significant additional containment measures to control the spread of COVID-19.

“This new order marks the next stage in this consistent approach, reflects the reality that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time, and we need to adapt to that new reality,” said County of Santa Clara Health Officer Dr. Sara Cody last week. “Today’s order offers a long-term containment strategy that we believe will need to remain in place for the coming months.”

Had it been approved, the new order would have allowed for more activities to resume, including hair and nail services, gyms and small gatherings, but only with strict social distancing protocols in place, consistent use of face coverings and significant capacity limits. It would also require all employers to immediately report cases of COVID-19 tied to their workplaces to local public health officials. It would have allowed outdoor gatherings (up to 60 people) and indoor gatherings (up to 20 people).

The order featured universal requirements for businesses to make it clearer and more uniform across sectors.

Sectors that were not included were indoor dining, indoor swimming and places that would mean large gatherings like nightclubs and stadiums.

Last week, Dr. Cody admitted that there has been an accelerated increase in cases. The positivity rate within the County has been on the rise. However, Dr. Cody said that with a careful and measured approach more sectors can reopen in limited ways. She said that COVID-19 will be with us for a long time so we need to adapt and find new ways to live our lives safely.

Visit the Santa Clara County Public Health Department’s website for updates on what’s next.

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